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

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Camberwell 1935

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Camberwell.

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Measles is regarded as a serious disease owing to its complications,
especially pneumonia. During the year 289 cases were
brought to the knowledge of the Health Department, mainly
through reports from the school authorities. Seventy-nine cases
received treatment in hospitals.
Epidemics of measles occur in London at intervals of two
years beginning in the autumn and continuing through the winter
and the following spring. The last epidemic occurred in 1933-4.
In November of the year under review the number of cases brought
to the notice of the Department commenced to rise and at Christmas
time the number of cases reported weekly was approximately 80.
The machinery to combat an epidemic was forthwith put
into force, including the Measles Scheme of Control which has for
its object the early submission to the Medical Officer of Health of
the names and addresses of cases and suspected cases of measles in
children attending the Elementary Schools. The homes of these
children were visited by the Health Visitors for the purpose of urging
the parents to provide adequate medical and nursing attention and to
arrange for the removal to hospital of patients whose environmental
circumstances were not suitable for treatment at home, or where
the illness was severe with a risk of complications developing.
Home contacts were allowed to remain in attendance at school after
arrangements had been made for their examination daily by the
School Nurse.
Households with young children in infected areas were also
visited, and a leaflet was left at the home containing information
as to the signs, symptoms, and prevention of the disease; the
necessity for treatment and proper nursing should measles occur,
and how to obtain the services of the district nurse.
Measles Serum.
The use of serum obtained from convalescent patients and
adults who have had measles serves to protect non-immune children
from an attack of measles or to reduce the severity of an attack.
There is convincing proof that measles prophylaxis may save
the lives of many children, and it would seem that the future of this
protective inoculation treatment is in the hands of the general
medical practitioners.
Unfortunately no application was made to this Department by
a medical practitioner during 1935 for a supply of measles serum
for inoculation purposes.

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