Ivana Renteria

Ecology

Project Report

 

 

 

Life Expectancy of Children in Racine, Wisconsin before and After the Introduction of Penicillin

 

 

 

Abstract

 

I collected data at Graceland and Mound Cemeteries located in Racine, Wisconsin; to observe the differences between the life expectancy of children before and after the introduction of penicillin to the United States. I did not randomly collect this data. I walked throughout the cemeteries, observing and recording the dates listed on the headstones. I then recorded the dates in my notebook. My hypothesis stated that people had a higher life expectancy after the introduction of Penicillin to the United States. According to my research and statistical test, I have found that my data does not support my hypothesis.

Key Words: Life Expectancy, Children, Penicillin

 

 

Introduction

 

 

During the late 1800s and the early 1900s, the Racine, Wisconsin area was plagued with scarlet fever, diphtheria, tuberculosis, pneumonia, influenza and smallpox. All were fatal among children but especially scarlet fever and influenza, which took the lives of more than 10 children in a single year.The diseases became so feared in the Racine community that people were quarantined within their own homes to avoid further infection (Reiderer, 1994).The medical field of bacteriology was still being discovered, so the cures for many of these diseases were still unimaginable. The purpose of my experiment was to determine whether or not children in Racine County had a higher life expectancy before or after the introduction of Penicillin to the United States. I believe that the life expectancy of children would be higher after the introduction of Penicillin. Penicillin kills disease causing bacteria by weakening the cell wall of the bacteria, eventually dissolving the cell completely. With the introduction of penicillin to the United States during the 1940ís there was finally a solution to diseases such as meningitis, tetanus, and intestinal, staphylococcal, and streptococcal infections (Faddis, 1974).

Fig.1 Map of Mound Cemetery

 

Fig 2. Map of Graceland Cemetery

 

 

 

Methods

 

 

I collected data in Graceland and Mound Cemeteries in Racine, Wisconsin on October 8th and 11th and on November 1st, 2006.Graceland Cemetery is located at the intersections of Osbourne Boulevard and Graceland Boulevard. Mound Cemetery is located at 1747 West Boulevard. I walked in through the main entrance of Mound Cemetery located on West Boulevard and Highway 20. As I walked through the cemetery I gathered my data as I approached each headstone, depending on which headstone was closest to me. I was the only person recording the data. I then went to Graceland Cemetery where I recorded more data. I recorded the dates from a total of 200 head stones, 50 of them were children born prior to the 1940s, and another 50 were born after the 1940s. And I also recorded 100 dates from the headstones of people who survived past the age of 18 in both time periods. I contacted the Racine Health Department to gather data regarding the history of illnesses, epidemics and pandemics in Racine. I also met with the caretaker of the cemeteries in Racine to gather maps, history and directions to specific areas within the cemeteries.I did not get a chance to view the cemeteries completely, so I picked one section at a time. I did not observe every tombstone in a particular section before moving on to the next section. The sections where I gathered my data were sections 23 and 32 in Mound Cemetery and sections 8,5,19 and 21 in Graceland Cemetery shown in figures 1 and 2 (Drummond, 1994).I compiled my results in Microsoft Excel, and the Life History Analysis Program, before creating a graph to reflect my results. I also performed a T-Test to determine the P-Value of my data to indicate whether or not my findings were significant.

 

Results

 

 

My results, once graphed, showed me that the life expectancy of children born after the 1940s had a lower life expectancy that those born prior to the 1940s. However, the percentages of the deaths within each age group vary, despite the time difference, as shown in Table 3 and fig. 4. The T-test gave me a P-value of 1.50 which is statistically insignificant. These results did not support my hypothesis.

 

Table 1

 

Before 1940

 

Age

x

Lx

lx

dx

qx

sx

Tx

ex

0-2

0

65.5

79

27

0.34

0.66

812.5

20.57

3-4

1

49.5

52

5

0.10

0.90

747

28.73

5-6

2

45

47

4

0.09

0.91

697.5

29.68

7-8

3

40

43

6

0.14

0.86

652.5

30.35

9-10

4

37

37

0

0.00

1.00

612.5

33.11

11-12

5

36.5

37

1

0.03

0.97

575.5

31.11

13-14

6

35.5

36

1

0.03

0.97

539

29.94

15-16

7

35

35

0

0.00

1.00

503.5

28.77

17-18

8

32.5

35

5

0.14

0.86

468.5

26.77

19-20

9

29.5

30

1

0.03

0.97

436

29.07

21-22

10

29

29

0

0.00

1.00

406.5

28.03

23-24

0

28

29

2

0.07

0.93

377.5

26.03

25-26

0

26.5

27

1

0.04

0.96

349.5

25.89

27-28

0

25.5

26

1

0.04

0.96

323

24.85

29-30

0

25

25

0

0.00

1.00

297.5

23.80

31-32

0

25

25

0

0.00

1.00

272.5

21.80

33-34

0

25

25

0

0.00

1.00

247.5

19.80

35-36

0

24

25

2

0.08

0.92

222.5

17.80

37-38

0

23

23

0

0.00

1.00

198.5

17.26

39-40

0

22

23

2

0.09

0.91

175.5

15.26

41-42

0

20.5

21

1

0.05

0.95

153.5

14.62

43-44

0

20

20

0

0.00

1.00

133

13.30

45-46

0

20

20

0

0.00

1.00

113

11.30

47-48

0

18

20

4

0.20

0.80

93

9.30

49-50

0

15

16

2

0.13

0.88

75

9.38

51-52

0

13

14

2

0.14

0.86

60

8.57

53-54

0

11.5

12

1

0.08

0.92

47

7.83

55-56

0

11

11

0

0.00

1.00

35.5

6.45

57-58

0

10

11

2

0.18

0.82

24.5

4.45

59-60

0

7

9

4

0.44

0.56

14.5

3.22

61-62

0

4

5

2

0.40

0.60

7.5

3.00

63-64

0

2.5

3

1

0.33

0.67

3.5

2.33

65-66

0

1

2

2

1.00

0.00

1

1.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table 2

 

After 1940

 

Age

x

Lx

lx

dx

qx

sx

Tx

ex

0-2

0

79

99

40

0.40

0.60

966.5

19.53

3-4

1

58

59

2

0.03

0.97

887.5

30.08

5-6

2

57

57

0

0.00

1.00

829.5

29.11

7-8

3

55.5

57

3

0.05

0.95

772.5

27.11

9-10

4

53

54

2

0.04

0.96

717

26.56

11-12

5

51.5

52

1

0.02

0.98

664

25.54

13-14

6

51

51

0

0.00

1.00

612.5

24.02

15-16

7

51

51

0

0.00

1.00

561.5

22.02

17-18

8

50.5

51

1

0.02

0.98

510.5

20.02

19-20

9

48.5

50

3

0.06

0.94

460

18.40

21-22

10

44

47

6

0.13

0.87

411.5

17.51

23-24

0

40.5

41

1

0.02

0.98

367.5

17.93

25-26

0

38

40

4

0.10

0.90

327

16.35

27-28

0

36

36

0

0.00

1.00

289

16.06

29-30

0

33.5

36

5

0.14

0.86

253

14.06

31-32

0

29.5

31

3

0.10

0.90

219.5

14.16

33-34

0

27

28

2

0.07

0.93

190

13.57

35-36

0

24

26

4

0.15

0.85

163

12.54

37-38

0

21

22

2

0.09

0.91

139

12.64

39-40

0

19

20

2

0.10

0.90

118

11.80

41-42

0

16.5

18

3

0.17

0.83

99

11.00

43-44

0

14

15

2

0.13

0.87

82.5

11.00

45-46

0

12

13

2

0.15

0.85

68.5

10.54

47-48

0

11

11

0

0.00

1.00

56.5

10.27

49-50

0

10

11

2

0.18

0.82

45.5

8.27

51-52

0

8.5

9

1

0.11

0.89

35.5

7.89

53-54

0

7

8

2

0.25

0.75

27

6.75

55-56

0

6

6

0

0.00

1.00

20

6.67

57-58

0

5

6

2

0.33

0.67

14

4.67

59-60

0

3.5

4

1

0.25

0.75

9

4.50

61-62

0

2.5

3

1

0.33

0.67

5.5

3.67

63-64

0

2

2

0

0.00

1.00

3

3.00

65-66

0

1

2

2

1.00

0.00

1

1.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fig. 3 Life Expectancy of Children in Racine, Wisconsin Before and After the Introduction of Penicillin

 

 

 

Table 3

Age

Pre 1940

Post 1940

0-2

54

76

3-4

10

4

5-6

4

0

7-8

12

6

9-10

0

4

11-12

2

2

13-14

2

0

15-16

0

0

17-18

5

2

19-20

1

6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fig. 4 Percentage of Children Deaths Per Age Group

 

 

 

Discussion

 

 

With the haunting past of the Spanish Influenza Pandemic and Scarlet Fever, there is now the relief of knowing that some of the symptoms and side effects can be avoided because of Penicillin (Documents, 1999). Unfortunately, despite the medical and technological advances of the Racine area, there are still many mysterious killers of young children today such as SIDS and certain cancers (Bedard, 2006).Based on my data, there is no way to really predict the number of deaths of children in the future.

Being familiar with the Racine area, I also identified many of the recent graves of children, as belonging to those killed by gang violence in the city, or as victims of child abuse. This leads me to conclude that although there may be fewer deaths among children due to communicable diseases in Racine since the 1940s, there are many new illnesses and situations that Penicillin cannot cure. To continue this research, I would compare the results of my study with the results of other communities outside of the Racine area.I think that this topic would be better studied perhaps 50 years from now. It was difficult to gather enough data on people born after the 1940s in some of the older age groups, because they havenít yet reached those age groups. The study cannot be thoroughly and accurately represented if the dates of death are not yet available.

 

 

 

 

References

 

 

1)      Faddis, Margene (1974).Penicillin. The American Journal of Nursing. 47, 31-34. Retrieved from JSTOR

 

2)      Documents, (1999).CDC on Infectious Diseases in the United States: 1900-99. Population and Development Review. 25, 635-640. Retrieved from JSTOR

 

††††† 3)Riederer, Thelma Cattron. "The First Thirty Years of Public Health Nursing†††††††††† ††††††† in the Racine Health Department 1909-1939."University of Wisconsin-††††††††††† Milwaukee School of Nursing Masters Degree Thesis. 1994

 

†††† 4)†† Drummond, Margo. "Mound Cemetery Walking Tour Guide. 1994.

 

†††† 5)†† Bedard, Steve. Personal interview. 01 November 2006.