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

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Hackney 1911

Report on the sanitary condition of the Hackney District for the year 1911

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to prevent its spread, we might reasonably expect a large decrease
in its prevalence and a corresponding saving in subsequent illhealth
and in deaths. It is with a view to this end that this leaflet
has been prepared.
Symptoms.—In severe cases the disease may begin with a convulsion,
or shivering, or an attack of diarrhœa; but in ordinary
cases an observant parent will notice the child looks poorly, does
not eat its food as usual, or complains of feeling tired, or is fretful.
Then the child develops what appears to be a cold, he sneezes, the
eyes get red, and a watery discharge sets in from both eyes and nose,
and a slight cough arises. At the same time the child becomes
feverish. This condition lasts about three days; then the rash of
measles appears. This consists of small dark red spots occurring
in irregular patches, first on the face, and then spreading to the
trunk and limbs. The rash lasts about four days and then disappears
in the same order in which it appears, after which the skin
is partly shed in very fine scales.
The child is infectious from the commencement of the disease
until the disappearance of rash and cough, and until the skin
has ceased to peel. This period of infection is usually about 21
days. It should be specially noted that the child is extremely
infectious before the rash appears as well as after. The breath,
the secretion from the running eyes and nose, and probably the
odour given off from the skin, will all spread the disease. It follows
that the clothes, with the bedding and room used by the child will
be infectious. From the above short account it may be easily
gathered what should be done to check the spread of measles.
Measures to be adopted to prevent the spread of Measles.
1. As soon as there any suspicion of a child sickening for
measles, it should be removed to a warm, well-ventilated room,
free from draughts, apart from the remainder of the household,
from which all unnecessary clothings, hangings, carpets, &c., have
been removed.
2. The discharges from nose, eyes and mouth should be received
on soft pieces of rag, and immediately burned.

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