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

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Hackney 1899

Report on the sanitary condition of the Hackney District for the year 1899

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5. As a good state of health is a safeguard against consumption,
it will be obvious that those things which promote a healthy body
should be encouraged, and those which have a contrary effect
Finally, it cannot be too clearly understood that consumption,
although an infectious disease, is also a preventible disease; and that
a consumptive person is not a danger to others if the simple precautions
suggested above are observed.
By Order of the Public Health Committee,
Medical Officer of Health.
Public Health Department,
Town Hall, Hackney, N.E.,
March, 1899.
Whooping Cough is a highly infectious disease occurring chiefly
amongst children under five years of age, and affecting females more
than males. It is almost as fatal as measles, causing over 2,000
deaths in London, and nearly 100 deaths in Hackney every year. If
not fatal the disease may most seriously damage the constitution for
life; and in many cases it certainly leads the way to consumption.
The later in life the disease is caught the less serious it is likely to
be; but to children under one year old it is probably the most fatal
of all diseases. This latter fact alone should induce those who have
the charge of children to become acquainted with the early signs of
the disease in order, if possible, to prevent its spread to other children.
The infection spreads from person to person, being given of by the
breath of the patient, and in the secretions coughed up; it is also
spread by clothes, bedding, and other things used by a child suffering
from the disease.

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