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

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Battersea 1900

Report upon the public health & sanitary condition of Battersea during the year1900

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Symptoms of Plague.
The memoranda gives also the symptoms of several forms of
Plague, the more common usually beginning some three to
five days after exposure to infection. Such attack may develop
gradually, but, as commonly met with, there is a sudden onset
with much fever, as indicated by a high temperature, rapid
pulse, headache, hot skin, and thirst. The eyes are injected as
if inflamed; the expression, at first anxious and frightened,
becomes subsequently vacant and dull; the utterance is thick,
and the gait unsteady as in one under the influence of drink.
There is at times a distinct tendency to faint. The tongue is
at first covered with a moist white fur, except at the edges,
which are red, but later on it becomes dry and of a mahogany
Further information is contained in a report prepared by
Mr. James Cantlie, and issued by the London County Council
in October on " The Signs and Symptoms of Plague."
On the 15th October a communication was received from
the Town Clerk of the City of London to the effect that the
Port of London Sanitary Authority would be glad to receive
notification of cases of Plague occurring in the vicinity of the
docks and river, and would be prepared to pay the usual fee to
medical practitioners for certificates, although such cases might
not actually occur within the district of the Port of London.
On the 21st October a communication was received from
Dr. Shirley F. Murphy, asking that inasmuch as unusual mortality
amongst rats had been observed in some localities in which the
inhabitants have subsequently suffered from Plague, the Health
Committee of the Council may be immediately informed if at
any time such mortality among rats is observed in the district.
It will thus be seen that elaborate arrangements have been
made throughout the country and Metropolis for combating

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