IDPH 125th

...Years Ago in Public Health


THREE YEARS AGO IN IDPH HISTORY
In September 1999, state public health laboratory technicians, using a sophisticated genetic testing technology for the first time in Illinois, were able to positively pinpoint beef served at a Labor Day party in Menard County as the source of an E. coli 0157:H7 outbreak that sickened more than 300 people. more...

The state launched the Illinois Smoke-Free Restaurant Recognition Program in 2000 to encourage restaurant owners to adopt a smoke-free policy for the benefit of patrons and employees. more...

FOUR YEARS AGO IN IDPH HISTORY
During April and May 1998, a data entry specialist and a laboratory worker with the state health department noted an unusual upturn in the number of infections caused by Salmonella agona bacteria. What staff had noticed was the beginning of a nationwide outbreak that eventually sickened more than 400 people in 21 states. more...

FIVE YEARS AGO IN IDPH HISTORY
As the result of an investigation into asbestos contamination at an Illinois food processing plant in 1998, more than 1 million individual snack items – Twinkies, Hostess HoHos. Hostess Cupcakes, Dolly Madison Cupcakes and Hostess Fruit Pies, to name a few – were voluntarily recalled from store shelves in 21 states. more...

19 YEARS AGO IN IDPH HISTORY
To focus on the severity and complexity of the teen pregnancy problem, Parents Too Soon was launched in 1983 as a unique collaborative effort among the departments of Public Health, Public Aid, and Children and Family Services. The coordinator of the program was housed at the Department of Public Health and reported to the three agency directors. more...

27 YEARS AGO IN IDPH HISTORY
Illinois suffered the nation’s worst epidemic of St. Louis encephalitis in 1975, resulting in 578 cases and 47 deaths. It was the first major outbreak of a mosquito-borne disease in the state since 1930, when malaria sickened more than 300 Illinoisans. more...

29 YEARS AGO IN IDPH HISTORY
The Health Facilities Planning Act was passed in 1974 to promote the development of a comprehensive health care delivery system that assures the availability of quality facilities, related services, and equipment to the public, while simultaneously addressing the issues of community need, accessibility, and refinancing. more...

Illinois’ Lead Poisoning Prevention Act was signed into law in Illinois on Sept. 6, 1973. It made lead poisoning and elevated blood-levels (40 mcg/dL or greater) reportable, prohibited the use of lead-bearing paint in dwellings, gave the Department the authority to inspect dwellings for lead-bearing substances, and required owners of such dwellings to eliminate any hazards. more...

On Dec. 12, 1973, at approximately 12:30 p.m., fire broke out in one of the Department’s office locations at 4398 S. Jeffory St. in Springfield’s Industrial Park. All occupants were able to escape the flash fire without injury. more...

31 YEARS AGO IN IDPH HISTORY
Although they were the third largest killer in the country, serious unintentional injuries posed certain challenges for most U.S. hospitals. Recognizing this fact, Illinois launched the nation’s first statewide system to provide care for the victims of such injuries. more...

36 YEARS AGO IN IDPH HISTORY
In 1966, the Department’s dental division converted a chest X-ray van into a mobile dental clinic to provide on-the-spot care to children in low-income or migrant families. more...

37 YEARS AGO IN PUBLIC HEALTH
In April 1965, Illinois enacted a law requiring all newborn infants in the state to be tested for phenylketonuria (PKU). Responsibility for carrying out the mandatory testing was given to the Department of Public Health. By the following year, the Department had promulgated rules and regulations and had distributed them to all hospitals, physicians, public health agencies, and other interested groups and individuals in the state. more...

47 YEARS AGO IN IDPH HISTORY
On April 12, 1955, the federal government announced the creation of a safe and effective vaccine for the prevention of polio. The Illinois legislature, which was in session at the time, promptly appropriated $1 million to the Department for the purchase and free distribution of the Salk vaccine. more...

56 YEARS AGO IN IDPH HISTORY
With much fanfare, Gov. Dwight H. Green on Jan. 10, 1946, became the first person to have a chest X-ray in one of two new Department mobile tuberculosis units. more...

57 YEARS AGO IN IDPH HISTORY
The Nursing Home Care Act was approved on July 17, 1945. It charged the Illinois Department of Public Health with formulating and enforcing rules and regulations pertaining to the operation of these facilities as well as minimum standards for location, construction, personnel, sanitation and diet. more...

A group of city officials met on Feb. 23, 1945, to consider adding sodium fluoride to Evanston’s public water supply to prevent dental caries, particularly in children. The decision was to begin fluoridation of the public water supply on an experimental basis. A month later, the Department agreed to subsidize the project. more...

60 YEARS AGO IN IDPH HISTORY
In 1942, the Department joined the Emergency Maternity and Infant Care program, a nationwide project financed entirely by the U.S. Children’s Bureau. The program offered free medical care to eligible pregnant women and babies. more...

63 YEARS AGO IN PUBLIC HEALTH HISTORY
In the summer of 1939, an outbreak of typhoid fever swept through Manteno State Mental Hospital. The outbreak lasted through October and resulted in 453 cases of illness and 60 deaths. more...

65 YEARS AGO IN PUBLIC HEALTH HISTORY
While floods were no novelty in Illinois, the flood that occurred in the winter of 1937 – inundating 978 square miles and scores of communities and thousands of homes – was different. Alerted by heavy rainfall and rising water levels upstream along the Ohio River, the Illinois Department of Public Health anticipated trouble and, before the flood broke, sent several engineers to the threatened area to observe developments and to take any action necessary to protect public water supplies. more...

69 YEARS AGO IN PUBLIC HEALTH HISTORY
An outbreak of amebic dysentery occurred during the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair, resulting in 1,704 cases of illness and 98 deaths. Faulty plumbing at a Chicago hotel polluted the hotel’s water supply causing the illnesses. more...

74 YEARS AGO IN PUBLIC HEALTH HISTORY
The Department has been regulating, inspecting and licensing public swimming pools since 1931.

Swimming can be hazardous for many reasons – drownings, diving accidents, falls on wet surfaces and a number of diseases that may be transmitted by contaminated water. Recognizing these risks, the state legislature in 1931 enacted a swimming pool law that required the Department to adopt minimum sanitary requirements for the design, construction and operation of swimming pools. more...

80 YEARS AGO IN IDPH HISTORY
Morgan County established the first full-time county health department in May 1922, with Dr. R.V. Brokaw at its head. more...

81 YEARS AGO IN IDPH HISTORY
In 1917, the State Board of Health was reorganized as the State Department of Public Health. Dr. C. St. Clair Drake, who had served as executive director of the board since 1914, became the first director of Illinois's new public health agency. more...

85 YEARS AGO IN IDPH HISTORY
The influenza pandemic that encircled the globe reached Chicago on Sept. 21, 1918. By the end of November, influenza or pneumonia had caused 8,510 deaths in Chicago. more...

86 YEARS AGO IN IDPH HISTORY
The first recorded epidemic of poliomyelitis (polio) began in 1916; Illinois reported 1,000 cases. The following year there were 853 cases and 236 deaths. However, the actual number of those afflicted by the disease was probably considerably higher since it is estimated that only 30 percent of cases were reported. more...

87 YEARS AGO IN IDPH HISTORY
The first Better Baby Conference, held during the 1915 Illinois State Fair, was designed to draw attention to sanitary and hygienic matters. During the conference, Department staff helped to examine 250 children. more...

101 YEARS AGO IN IDPH HISTORY
Immigrants flowing into Illinois during the final years of the 19th century overtaxed housing facilities, leading state lawmakers to enact a law in 1899 creating the Division of Hotel and Lodging House Inspection. The new division inspected rooming houses and enforced standards for minimum air space and sanitation and for maximum capacity.more...

121 YEARS AGO IN PUBLIC HEALTH
In 1881, smallpox was rampant in Illinois. To address the epidemic, the State Board of Health in November ordered that no child be admitted to public schools in Illinois after Jan. 1, 1882, without presenting satisfactory evidence of “proper and successful” vaccination or a history of smallpox and that the reporting of the disease, by physicians to local health officers, be compulsory. more...

124 YEARS AGO IN PUBLIC HEALTH
In 1878, an outbreak of yellow fever in Cairo alarmed the state and led to quarantine measures that practically paralyzed traffic from the south. more...

125 YEARS AGO IN PUBLIC HEALTH
The State Board of Health was organized in 1877 and, for the first time, public health became a permanent function of state government. The board was given responsibility for regulating medical practitioners and for promoting sanitary and hygienic activities to control and prevent disease. more...



A Timeline of the Illinois Department of Public Health




idph online home




Illinois Department of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
Phone 217-782-4977
Fax 217-782-3987
TTY 800-547-0466
Questions or Comments