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

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Bethnal Green 1925

[Report on the health of the Borough of Bethnal Green during the year 1925]

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Flies.—The fly peril demands more exact preventive
treatment, for the deadly effects of these pests
are not adequately appreciated by the general public,
and yet the prevention of fly breeding would undoubtedly
imply a heavy fall in the death rate.
Sanitary Supervision.—The Sanitary Department
here is the most active in my experience, but in this
and other Metropolitan Boroughs the sanitary bins and
dust-carts are a serious menace to public health; why
they should remain for hours at the mercy of children
and tramps, uncovered and over-flowing in front of
the houses in the streets, is not understood. In future,
in this Borough, covers will be provided for the bins,
those containing any infectious material will be dealt
with separately by isolation and disinfectant powder;
a time table drawn out, showing the probable time of
removal, and the present carts amended so that the
canvas curtains (made from the cover) can be drawn
down from the central pole, as parts of the cart are
filled, to prevent the dust from blowing about.
At present, throughout London, this terrible
nuisance is possibly the source of very much of the
paper and dust, and probably of much infectious
disease. Epidemics of "sore throats" (follicular
tonsillitis) are not uncommon in the Army, and it is
not difficult to understand that dust from these bins
and carts containing Diphtheria or Scarlet Fever may
produce these diseases. It is difficult to understand
why the public tolerate this horrible nuisance.
The best type of dust cart has small wheels and so
needs no ladder, the sanitary bins being readily emptied
directly into the low body of the cart.
Barbers' Shops.—A systematic inspection of
these will in future be made. Antiseptic measures are
very necessary, I am sure, if we are to prevent the far
too prevalent baldness. In almost all the saloons, after
the head has been scrupulously cleansed, it appears to
be the custom to apply a brush that has just been used

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