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BOARD OF HEALTH
To preserve and protect the health of the community by inspections and licensing of food handlers, places where food and drink is sold, ice dealers, mild dealers, barber shops, beauty parlors and public conveyances; to investigate and determine the origin of outbreaks of contagious and social diseases, to prevent epidemics by inoculations and vaccination, to enforce quarantines, to close private schools and places of public assemblage and to recommend the closing of public schools; to record vital statistics, issue marriage licenses, birth, death and burial certificates; to enforce the state and local plumbing codes; to prevent and abate all nuisances detrimental to health.
The organization or set-up of the Board of Health is an anachronism probably dating back to the times when all Townships were rural and sparsely inhabited. There may be some question as to whether the adoption of the Municipal Manager Act in Teaneck affected this set up. The attorneys of the State Board of Health ruled that it did not. Practically the situation was worked out in a common sense manner by close cooperation between the Manager and the President of the Board of Health who have daily conferences.
The cost of conducting the Board of Health during the past few years has shown a consistent increase, large in percentage. Even now, however, a very small part of the total budget goes to health work. The increase of 1931 is accounted for by the fact that this was the first year that the permit fees were paid into the Township treasury in total and the Health Officer reimbursed out of the appropriation. The 1932 increase is due to the fact that during this year the Township first took over the Baby-Keep-Well Stations and clinics, and 1933 was the first complete year they were in operation at the cost of the Township.
A report of the detailed operations of the Board of Health, submitted by its active President, Dr. B. S. Bookstaver, follows:
"I herewith submit to you an annual report in regard to the Board of Health of the Township of Teaneck, from the time it started its activities in May, 1932.
"We immediately set out to enforce the Ordinance of our Sanitary Code. First of which was the examination of the food-handlers in our Township; then followed by the examination of all our barbers and beauticians. In this respect, we have received full co-operation of our local store-keepers, as well as those who have come into the Township to dispose of their food wares.
"Having accomplished this, we immediately set out to clean up all vacant lots and area-ways and all the rubbish which accumulated in the stores for some time, and again we have received the fullest cooperation of all concerned.
"During May of 1932, we had one rabid dog in the Township, that no doubt had infected seventeen (17) of our Citizens, and before any affirmative diagnosis was received by our Board of Health, we at once started anti-rabid treatment of all those affected. Twenty-four (24) hours after our treatments were started, we received a positive report from the Bergen Pines that the head of the affected animal showed rabies to a very marked degree.
"The credit for the early diagnosis in this particular case is wholly due to the fact that Dr. William F. Reynolds, our Health Officer, who is incidentally a veterinarian, made the diagnosis without the aid of a microscope.
"In our fight against contagion, our Board of Health has seen fit to install a system to educate the people in the importance of quarantine, and also prevalent measures to protect themselves against the possibilities of contracting disease; with the results that the people at large have put faith in our department, and have heeded every warning, which we have given them through the press; thus making Teaneck a safe and healthy place to live in, and attaining as a result perfect calm amongst our Citizens, rather than one of hysteria.
"We started in the year of 1933, with the people being fully aware that the Health Department is pleasantly strict, and we were about to accomplish very good results in all our undertakings.
"During May of 1933, we have, through a new Ordinance which was passed, been able to prohibit the sale of loose milk and cream within the Township; this Ordinance was uncontested.
"At the same time the Hygiene Stations of our Community were put under our jurisdiction and we immediately set out to simplify the work of protecting the people by keeping our Stations open at all times during the year, so that our Citizens can be given toxoid treatments for the prevention of Diphtheria, and vaccination for the prevention of Small-pox.
"During the same year, we were fortunate in opening up our eye-clinic in our Hygiene Stations, to add to the further protection of. the physical condition of our people.
"In July, 1933, a report was received from Detroit, Michigan, to the effect that a certain typhoid carrier escaped from their jurisdiction and came to our Township to live with his mother. About ten minutes after we received this information, we had this person detained, and subsequently confined in Bergen Pines for about six (6) weeks, and on his discharge as cured was declared to be a walking typhoid.
"In August, 1933, Trenton received a complaint from the New York Department of Health, concerning certain typhoid cases which existed within New York City and vicinities, after attending a party of a resident of Teaneck. We immediately set out and made a thorough investigation, and finally isolated this typhoid carrier, who happened to be a resident of this Community, and this person is now detained under authority of the State Department Health Officer, representing Bergen County. I might say at this time, that no resident of Teaneck who attended this party showed signs of typhoid fever.
"In September of 1933, the correlation of the Board of Health, Hygiene Stations, and Medical Department of the Board of Education, was realized through the kind efforts of those interested in the welfare and the health of the Community, and as it so happens, the Board of Health, Hygiene Stations and Medical Department of the Board of Education can now be considered a single unit for the betterment of the health of the Community.
"In conclusion, let me state that all these things were accomplished by the splendid co-operation of our Township Manager, our Council, Police and Fire Departments, as well as all our Departments and the people at large; not forgetting the extreme interest and diligent work done by all those connected with the Board of Health Department, with the result that all these accomplishments were available without any additional budget appropriations."
Teaneck Public Library
840 Teaneck Road, Teaneck, NJ 07666
Tel.: (201) 837-4171, Fax: (201) 837-0410