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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in the Metropolis, they go down as low as 40 and 79 per cent. hereIn
London the disease behaves from year's end to year's end in a more
even manner, whereas here it runs to extremes. Indeed, the sharp fall
in Islington from the greater maximum to the greater minimum is what
the Americans would probably call a “landslide.” It is at any rate a
very accentuated curve.
It is difficult to understand how it happens that the Islington
greater maximum occurs at a warm period of the year, for as
shown in the report for the second quarter of this year (page 17),
pneumonia, bronchitis and other respiratory diseases are the secondary
causes which chiefly carry off persons suffering from measles, and it is of
course at the cold period of the year that such diseases are most
prevalent, and when consequently their effect would be most felt by
patients suffering from a disease, which, by its very nature, renders its
victims particularly prone to contract them. (Vide Report Third
Quarter, Table VIII).
Of course it may happen that the number of cases occurring at the
colder period may be comparatively few, and that the mortality is
relatively larger, notwithstanding the fact that the total number of
deaths is not so great. Indeed this is the only explanation that is
possible in the absence of information as to the number of cases that
occurred, for it would be quite reasonable to think that although there
might be an extraordinary large number of cases at the time when the
greater maximum is reached, yet the case mortality (fatality), might
be small, although sufficiently large to exceed the number of deaths
which take place in the winter, when the cases are fewer, but the
fatality greater.
The matter is one of considerable interest, as bearing upon
seasonable influence on diseases, but it is not proposed to discuss it
further here.
This disease was credited with 57 deaths, which were equal to a
death-rate of 0.16 per 1,000. This return is slightly below the return