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New Jersey Obituaries - 1900 - James Strethie, Jr.


Died From Hydrophobia

A Highlands Boy Dies From This Disease

The Boy Bitten While Playing With a Sick Pup-Eight Other Persons Bitten by the Same Dog-Under Pasteur Treatment

James Strethie, Jr., aged thirteen years, son of James Strethie, who has charge of Robert Hartshorne’s farm at the Highlands, died on Monday of hydrophobia after an illness of about five days. The hydrophobia is supposed to have resulted from a dog bite received by the boy about two months ago. The boy’s mother, his two sisters, Louis Hower and William Card of Navesink and three other persons were bitten by the same dog at the time that the Strethie boy was bitten. They have all been inoculated with the Pasteur serum and it is not thought that hydrophobia will develop in any of these cases.

The Strethies live in a farmhouse on Robert Hartshorne’s property. They are Scotch people and have lived on the Hartshorne place only since last spring. About two months ago Mr. Hartshorne received a bull pup as a gift from a friend. He kept the pup at his house for a short time. It showed slight symptoms of sickness and Mr. Hartshorne sent the dog to his farmer to be cared for. The pup was then about four months old. The members of the family tried to pet the pup when it was brought to their house but the pup snapped at every one who tried to make friends with it. The Strethie boy, his mother and his two sisters were bitten on the fingers in trying to make friends with the pup. Louis Hower and William Card of Navesink were doing some mason work at the place occupied by the Strethies family at the time the pup was brought there. They also played with the pup and were bitten on the fingers. Two other workmen employed on the place petted the pup with the same result. The pup took such a hold of Louis Hower’s finger that it had to be shaken off. A few days after biting these people the dog died in a fit. There was no suspicion that the dog had hydrophobia. The bites received in petting the dog were all slight and were not considered of any consequence.

In the early part of last week young Strethie complained of sickness. He had considerable difficulty in swallowing and he complained of pains in his arms. A short time before complaining of sickness the boy had run a locust thorn in his arm and his parents attributed his sickness to the injury sustained from the locust thorn. Last Wednesday his condition became so serious that Dr. R. G. Andrew, Sr., of Navesink, was called in. The doctor examined the injury caused by the locust thorn but he was of the opinion that this injury could not have produced the boy’s sickness. The symptoms seemed to indicate hydrophobia but the case had not developed far enough for the doctor to be positive in his diagnosis. The next day Dr. Andrew visited the boy again. This time he was more decided in his suspicions and he told the family that if the boy had ever been bitten by a dog he would think that the boy had hydrophobia. A sister of the boy then related to the doctor the incident about the boy having been bitten by the dog. This was the first knowledge the doctor had that the boy had been bitten. His suspicions as to the disease were confirmed and he suggested that other doctors be called in consultation. Dr. Edward Taylor of Middletown and Dr. Kimball of Seabright were called. They unhesitatingly confirmed Dr. Andrew’s diagnosis of the case. A medical expert from New York was also called into the case and he was of the same opinion as the other doctors.

The boy’s condition grew steadily worse and at about noon on Monday he died. Nothing could be done for the boy except the administering of anaesthetics (sic) to relieve his sufferings. This was done and, although the boy suffered greatly at times, his death was free from the agony that usually attends death from rabies.

The symptoms exhibited by the boy corresponded in all respects to symptoms of hydrophobia as laid down by the best medical works. The suffering was confined almost entirely to the boy’s throat. Spittle of a stringy, tenacious nature formed in the boy’s throat and it was with the greatest difficulty at times that he was able to expectorate. At the mere suggestion of water or of any liquid refreshment the boy would go into a spasm and the slightest breath of air from a window or a fan would produce the same result. When the spasms were over the boy would be entirely rational and the night before his death he sang his favorite songs for some time. As the disease progressed the boy frothed more at the mouth and the spasms became more frequent. At no time during his sickness did he exhibit any great violence.

Besides the doctors above mentioned the boy was visited during his suffering by Dr. Clark of Seabright. It was the opinion of all the doctors that the case was a typical one of hydrophobia in every respect.

It was thought advisable by the doctors to administer the Pasteur treatment to the persons who had been bitten by the dog. The boy’s mother, his two sisters, Louis Hower and William Card were innoculated (sic) for the first time with the Pasteur serum yesterday by a physician from the New York board of health. The three workmen who were bitten have since left the Hartshorne place and their present whereabouts are unknown. The serum will be injected in the patients every day for about ten days. Sickness sometimes results from the injection of the serum but this sickness as a rule is very slight. It is not considered likely that any of the persons will be attacked with rabies after having taken the Pasteur treatment.

Medical authorities say that it takes from four to sixteen weeks for hydrophobia to develop and sometimes even longer than that. Cases of hydrophobia have been known to develop after a period of seven years, but these cases are very rare. The duration of the disease is usually from three to six days and sometimes as long as seven days. When once a person is attacked with hydrophobia his condition is generally considered as hopeless.

Source: Red Bank Register, Wednesday, August 1, 1900

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