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

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Fulham 1927

Annual report of the Medical Officer of Health for the year 1927

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Outbreak of Dysentery.
An outbreak of bacillary dysentery occurred during
the latter half of June, 1927, in which four Fulham
children were affected and were admitted to Hospital.
Unfortunately, two children from a neighbouring borough
contracted the infection.
Two of the Fulham cases were of a severe type
and one of them, a boy of five years, died after an
illness lasting four days. None of the patients had
ever been out of England.

All the patients became ill within a fortnight of the date of onset of the first case.

Case 1, aged6 years and 10 monthsOnset 16th June.
Case 2, aged5 yearsOnset 22nd June.
Case 3, aged13 monthsOnset 24th June.
Case 4, aged15 monthsOnset 25th June.
Case 5, aged16 monthsOnset 28th June.
Case 6, aged2 monthsOnset 29th June.

All the children were males, except the fourth.
The illness in the two severe cases was typical of
dysentery and was ushered in with shivering and headache.
The abdominal symptoms consisted of abdominal
pain and tenderness followed by vomiting and intense
and frequent diarrhoea with straining. The stools were
small in amount and contained mucus and blood. The
general condition was marked by delirium, temperatures
of 103° and 105°, rapid pulse, loss of flesh and profound
prostration. The diagnosis was verified by the bacteriologist
who isolated the bacillus of dysentery (Flexner)
from the stools in all the cases. The type of Flexner
bacillus was not investigated. Polyvalent anti-dysentery
serum was administered to three of the patients with
considerable benefit in two of the cases.
At the post-mortem examination on the fatal case
the lower end of the ileum and the large intestine were
found to be acutely inflamed, the mesenteric glands
were enlarged and fatty changes present in the liver.
Investigations were made as to the source of infection,
especially as to the possibility of a carrier case