Hints from the Health Department. Leaflet from the archive of the Society of Medical Officers of Health. Credit: Wellcome Collection, London
Report for the year 1914 of the Medical Officer of Health
Leave no food uncovered. In hot weather all food must be protected from
flies ; they are frequent carriers of the disease.
Frank E. Scrase, F.R.C.S., D.P.H.,
Medical Officer of Health.
Public Health Department,
Haverstock Hill, N.W.
The danger of leaving food exposed to contamination by flies is
now well established, and it behoves everyone, therefore, to take all
possible precautions in this respect. It is also very important that
refuse which may be the feeding-ground or breeding-ground of flies
should not be allowed to remain lying about. This matter has for some
time received considerable attention, and has been the subject of highly
interesting reports. From observations that have been made, it appears
that a high degree of infection is found among flies obtained from the
neighbourhood of decaying animal matter, and also amongst those
caught near manure. Other evidence has incriminated house flies as
carriers of infection, and has shown how food may be infected upon
which flies alight after having fed upon infective substances, whether
typhoid, cholera, or diarrhoea stools.
It would, of course, be unwise unduly to blame flies for the conveyance
of infection in diarrhœal or other diseases, but much may be
done in eliminating possible sources of danger by the destruction of
flies, by the prevention of food from contamination, and by due attention
to the disposal and removal of refuse. As I have indicated in the leaflet
above referred to, personal hygiene counts for much, particularly where
young children and their food are concerned. While stress, therefore,
is properly laid upon the necessity for maintaining the dwelling-house
and its environment in a proper sanitary condition, the importance of
due cleanliness in the individual and the interior of the home must
always be kept in view.
Upon the authority of the Public Health Committee, a leaflet has
been drawn up on the subject of flies, of which the following is a copy :