London's Pulse: Medical Officer of Health reports 1848-1972

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Battersea 1896

Report upon the public health and sanitary condition of the Parish of St. Mary, Battersea during the year1896

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Two were unsuccessfully re-vaccinated, one of these being a case
of second Small-Pox; another was not re-vaccinated early enough,
as the operation was not performed until the fifth day; and in the
other two cases there is no record of any result. These occurred
in his predecessor's time. The total staff employed in ambulance
duty was 42. Of this number only one took the Small-Pox.
He was not re-vaccinated, his arrival not having been reported.
He contracted the disease thirteen days after he arrived on duty.
Mr. Marson, surgeon to the Highgate Small-pox Hospital,
giving evidence before the Select Committee, stated that during
the preceding 35 years no nurse or servant at the hospital had
been attacked with Small-Pox. Since then, up to the present
time, one case only, that of a gardener, has occurred, so that
there is now a record of nearly sixty years with one case only. Of
the 137 nurses and attendants who have been taken on since
May, 1883, 30 had had Small-Pox previous to their entering the
service. (Some of these were patients in the hospital, engaged
as nurses or ward maids after their recovery.) All the others
were re-vaccinated upon entering the service, with the exception
of the one case, the gardener who took the disease.
Typhoid Fever cannot fairly be compared with Small-Pox,
since the mode of contagion is different. Nor are there records
available as to the hospital staff specially in care of Typhoid Fever
or of Diphtheria patients as there are in the case of Small-Pox.
But if the cases of ordinary contagious diseases, such as Scarlet
Fever and Diphtheria, be taken together, and even if Typhoid Fever
be included, a striking contrast is afforded by the returns of the
Metropolitan Asylums Board between the attendants in the
hospitals treating these diseases, and those in the Small-Pox and
Ship-Hospitals mentioned above. This is shown in the following