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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epidemic, which was weekly carrying off so many young lives ; hut still
it is an extraordinary circumstance that no knowledge of cases seems to
have come to the school attendance officers and the teachers !
It is earnestly hoped that on another orcasion similar ignoranoe of
cases will not prevail.
The action of the Local Government Hoard in tying the hands of
the London Medical Officers (and by a parity of reasoning every Medical
Officer of Health in England, where the School Board may think it
advisable to appoint a Medical Officer) is inexplicable, and has, as was
anticipated, caused utter astonishment among them. It is therefore to
be hoped that the Medical Department of the Local Government Board,
to whom the health of the community is of such interest, will speedily
annul the objectionable paragraph in the letter addressed to this Vestry
on March 23rd, 1896.
In consequence of this epidemic the attention of the Medical Officer
of Health has been directed in a special manner towards the seasonal
prevalence of measles, and he remarked at page 21 of his return for the
second quarter of the year, that when its behaviour in London was
represented diagramatically by curves it was remarkable in showing a
double mciximum and minimum curve, the larger maximum occurring in
November, December and January, the cold season of the year, and the
smaller in May and June. He also remarked that the larger minimum
occurred in August, September and October, and the smaller towards
the end of January, February and March. In Islington so far as he
could see without having actually charted the deaths, it seemed that
the greater maximum occurred in March, April and May, and the lesser
in December, January and February. He was only partly correct in this
statement, for he finds, vide chart on opposite page, that the Islington
curves follow the London curves very closely, but the periods of the
year at which the greater and fesser maximum occurs are reversed, and
so it is also with the greater and lesser minimum curves. Another
noteworthy circumstance is that the intensity of the curve is much
greater iu Islington than in London, for whereas the maximum curves rise
to 77 and 36 per cent. in Islington, they only reach 25 and 51 per cent.
in London, and whereas the minimum curves fall to 30 and 45 per cent.