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

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Deptford 1911

Annual report on the health of the Metropolitan Borough of Deptford

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Decline in Deaths from Drinking.
It is gratifying to know that very few deaths were recorded
during the year from excessive drinking. It has frequently
bean pointed out in these Reports that the adverse influence
upon the public health of drinking is indirect. It is reflected
in high infant mortality, neglect of, and cruelty to children.
The waste of money in drink which ought to be spent on the
necessaries of life is, apart from actual drunkenness, a great
source of injury to the public health, accentuating the miseries
and suffering of poverty.
Everyone who deals with mortality statistics very well
understands that the registered deaths by no means represent
the actual number caused by the excessive use of alcohol. It
is notable, however, that while acute alcoholic poisoning, acute
alcoholic mania, delirium tremens, chronic alcoholic neuritis,
and alcoholic paralysis are generally ascribed in the death
returns to alcoholism, yet there are many other diseases to
which alcohol is the attributing cause, which are not so included,
and which comprise diseases of the stomach, such as gastric
catarrh, chronic dyspepsia and dilatation of the stomach ; of the
liver, such as congestion, cirrhosis and fatty liver; of the
kidneys, such as chronic nephritis. The results of coroner's
inquests also show that alcohol is the contributing cause to
other deaths.
House Fly and Disease.
As flies may be a source of dangerous contamination,
owing to their frequenting places where filth exists, particular
attention has been paid to stable refuse and manure heaps.
Flies may carry an enormous number of bacteria and the
danger which may arise from the transmission by these insects
of filth and infection of foodstuffs cannot be over-estimated.

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