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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If parents and guardians would bear these facts in mind, and in all
cases of measles take such precautions as are here suggested to
prevent its spread, we might reasonably expect a large decrease in
its prevalence, and a corresponding saving in subsequent ill-health
and in deaths. It is with a view to this end that this leaflet has been
Symptoms.—In severe cases the disease may begin with a convulsion,
or shivering, or an attack of diarrhœa; but in ordinary cases
an observant parent will notice the child looks poorly, does not eat
its food as usual, or complains of feeling tired, or is fretful. Then
the child developes what appears to be a cold, he sneezes, the eyes
get red, and a watery discharge sets in from both eyes and nose, and
a slight cough arises; at the same time the child becomes feverish.
This condition lasts about three days, then the rash of measles
appears. This consists of small dark red spots occurring in irregular
patches, first on the face, and then spreading to the trunk and limbs.
The rash lasts about four days, and then disappears in the same
order in which it appears, after which the skin is partly shed in very
fine scales.
The child is infectious from the commencement of the disease
until the disappearance of rash and cough, and until the skin has
ceased to peel. This period of infection is usually about 21 days.
It should be specially noted that the child is extremely infectious
before the rash appears as well as after. The breath, the secretion
from the running eyes and nose, and probably the odour given off
from the skin, will all spread the disease. It follows that the clothes,
with the bedding and room used by the child will be inlectious.
From the above short account it may be easily gathered what should
be done to check the spread of measles.
Measures to be Adopted to Prevent the Spread
of Measles.
1. As soon as there is any suspicion of a child sickening for
measles, it should be removed to a warm, well-ventilated room, free

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