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

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Port of London 1912

Report for the year ended 31st December 1912 of the Medical Officer of Health for the Port of London

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It is provided that in "suspected" or "infected" ships, drinking water taken in at an
infected port shall be thrown away after disinfection and replaced if necessary by good
water, and the discharge of water ballast taken in at an infected port into a harbour may
be prohibited unless previously disinfected.
A period of six days observation or surveillance is obligatory in the case of "infected,"
but it is optional in the case of "suspected" ships. Mosquitos in each case are to be
exterminated as far as possible on arrival of the vessel and before unloading the cargo.
Infected and suspected ships are to moor when possible at least 200 metres from the
The expression "Observation" means isolation of travellers either on board ship or
in a sanitary station. "Surveillance" means that the passengers are allowed to land,
but the Authorities of the places to which they are proceeding are to be informed of their
It is made clear also that the ship which has been subjected to efficient sanitary
measures in one port is to be exempt from such measures in another port if in another
country. A ship is not to be regarded as "suspected" if calling at a port where she has
taken on board mails or passengers who have had no connection with the port or local
infected area.
The following measures are to be adopted at Ports and marine frontiers:—
Section III.—A.—Classification of Ships.
Article 21.—Ships are classified as "Infected," "Suspected" or "Healthy."
(a) An infected vessel is where there has been a case of Plague, Cholera or
Yellow Fever on board within seven days.
(b) A suspected vessel, if there has been a case of Plague, Cholera or Yellow
Fever on board at the time of departure or during the voyage, but no
fresh case within seven days.
(c) Healthy, if it has come from an infected port, but there has been no case on
board either before departure or during the voyage.
B.—Measures in Case of Plague.
Article 22.—Infected ships.
1. Medical inspection.
2. The sick shall be immediately landed and isolated.
3. Contents and suspects shall be disembarked, if possible, and may be kept
under observation or surveillance for a period not exceeding five days.
4. Such soiled linen, &c., belonging to passengers or crew as the Sanitary
Authority may consider infected, are to be efficiently disinfected.
5. Rats on board must be destroyed.