Cholera. In a previous post (Kabkad in the time of cholera) where we tallied the 1883 cholera epidemic, church Burial records then identified the cause of death merely as peste (pest, plague, epidemic). It was left to other historical accounts covering the rest of the country to confirm this peste was cholera.
This time around, 1902, officials may have already recognized the symptoms and so at the very outset we find the books already attributed cause of death to cholera. Still, strictly speaking, the following figures may not be accurate for the simple reason that each of these deaths may not have been really properly diagnosed (or medically certified) as choleraic. Let us just say we presume the symptoms were very much the same for each of these mortalities as to be recognizable by even lay people of the period for them to easily ascribe them (the symptoms) commonly as those of cholera.
Be that as it may, just per the records in the Burial books, the first burial therein for the year 1902 with cholera as cause of death was on 13 July. There was only one other death of cholera for that month.
But the epidemic quickly spiked starting 9 August until it had claimed 92 lives that month. 89 died in September, 62 in October, and up again –96—in November before it dropped to 18 in December. A total 359 deaths were attributed to cholera from July-December, 1902.
With the new year, Carcar appeared to have gotten some sort of reprieve from the epidemic with “only” 9 deaths in January and none in February. There were 4 in March but not a single cholera death in April and May. By this point, things looked like the disease had abated and this may have raised false hopes, or lulled to backslipping to old bad practices. But June doused whatever was raised or lulled with another 26 fatalities. And then came July with the massive blow–274 deaths. August followed it up with 223. September had 23.
That particular Burials volume’s last record was 13 October 1903 and there had not been a death by cholera for that month. Still, there were a total of 559 deaths for 1903, and for the period from July 1902 to mid-October, 1903, a total of 918 perished from the epidemic.
The most deaths in a month from cholera back in 1883 had been 197 for July and a total from May to September of 494 fatalities.
Viruelas. Now, alongside cholera in 1903 was another “epidemic” of sorts in the same Burials volume – viruelas. Both smallpox and chickenpox are called viruela (the latter as viruelas locas). As with cholera above, a limitation must be raised to the possibility that proper diagnosis by a competent pathologist or medical doctor may not have actually been done to get the real cause of these deaths, but again, like cholera, to the layman, the symptoms for each of these pox mortalities must have been really similar.
Anyway, viruelas first appeared on 12 March 1903. That month there were 7 deaths by it. April went down to 4 but then rose to what may be called epidemic proportions with 15, 19, 11, 19, 52 for May to September, respectively. There were already 20 mortalities for October by the last record in the volume on the 13th of the month, with the highest –5—on that day itself.
I was not able to find the next volume for Burials in the office.