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

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Islington 1896

Forty-first annual report on the health and sanitary condition of the Parish of St. Mary, Islington

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From these two Tables it is at once seen that the disease was more
or less rife in the Parish during each of the four quarters of the year,
the greatest mortality occurring in the first quarter and the least in
the fourth. Indeed, Measles slowly, but surely, declined as quarter
succeeded quarter.
Not since 1887, when 335 occurred, were so many deaths
registered as in 1896, the previous greatest record during eleven years
being in 1885, when 294 deaths were entered. The disease, therefore,
assumed the dimensions of a very considerable epidemic in 1896. At
the beginning of the year it was very prevalent, as it was to a much
less degree in the third and fourth quarters of 1895, at which time
there was no reason to fear that it would assume the proportions it
ultimately reached—which, however, were at no time so great as those
which prevailed in other districts bordering on the Parish. Thus, the
death-rate in St. Pancras was 0.97 per 1,000. in St. Luke 2.60. and
in Clerkenwell l.43.
It will be interesting to note the movement of Measles in the
districts encircling the Parish prior to its assuming epidemic dimensions.
For this purpose it wiil be necessary to go back to the first
quarter of 1895. At this period the disease was unusually, although
not extraordinarily, prevalent in Shoreditch, where it caused a deathrate
of 0.59 per 1 000.
In the second quarter the disease assumed serious proportions,
producing a death-rate of l.63, while at the same time, almost without
warning, a heavy epidemic broke out in St. Luke, and at once became
very fatal, being responsible for a death-rate of no less than 2.59 per
1,000. In this quarter, too, Measles was fatal in Hackney and Stoke
Newington to an extent greater than could be desired.
With the advent of the third quarter the disease became so deadly
in St. Luke that the death-rate reached the extraordinary height of
6.8l per 1.000, and Clerkenwell, which had no deaths in the first
quarter, now showed a death-rate of 1.20, while in Hackney the rate
rose to 0.70. a rate which was exceeded by that of St. Pancras, 0.85
per 1,000. In this quarter, then, the disease was very prevalent to the
west (St, Pancras and Clerkenwell), to the east (Hackney) and to the
south (Shoreditch and St. Luke) of the Parish.