Air transportation between Hawaii and the mainland is a potential danger to the islands from a medical point of view, Dr. Eric Fennel said in a talk this morning at the annual conference of the Nurses’ Association of Hawaii at the YWCA.
There has been no smallpox in the islands in recent years because the incubation period is just under the time taken by ships to reach Hawaii and the quarantine officials have been able to prevent its entrance, he said. But when persons reach Hawaii after being only 24 hours on the way, there is danger of their bringing in such disease and spreading it before it is recognized.
Planes could also carry yellow fever mosquitoes, he pointed out.
Speaking on Changing Aspects of Infectious Diseases in Hawaii and taking up a large number of different diseases, Dr. Fennell said that not only do diseases change over the years, but people, conditions and diagnosis also change rapidly. Some diseases known in the middle ages have entirely disappeared in the world, he said, and new diseases are constantly being found ….
He told of a number of diseases which had never been known in Hawaii until one case was diagnosed, and soon thereafter many other cases … were recognized.
The incidence of typhus, plague, syphilis, leprosy and tuberculosis is down, he said, whereas that of pneumonia and parasitic skin diseases, including the so-called "Waikiki itch," seem to be up. …
There is danger of living in a "fool’s paradise" in regard to some of the diseases, he said. He cited measles, once the scourge of Hawaii but for the last few years almost non existent. If a few cases develop, there is danger of an epidemic, he said, because of the number of children not immune to the disease.