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

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Chelsea 1960

Annual report of the Medical Officer of Health for the year 1960

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- 60-
Other than family outbreaks (2)
1. Seven Cases and One Carrier
Illness followed the Nurses' Christmas dinner at a local hospitalo
Symptoms diarrhoea and vomiting, and at the time was thought to be
gastric fluĀ»
Five nurses out of ten sitting at one table were ill within a few
hours to six days after attending the dinner. Two mess waitresses
(one living outside Chelsea) also had symptoms, while a mess orderly
was found to be a symptomless excreter. Salmonella saint paul was
isolated from all cases and the carrier,,
All were excluded from carrying out their usual duties until cleared
of the infection, but the organism was so persistent, that in three cases
they had to be found alternative employment in the hospital, the last one
being cleared four months after infection.
There was no infection in the kitchen or wards, and mouse faeces
found in the food store and sent to the laboratory were reported negative.
Christmas dinner is the only time when all the nurses congregate
together, and two of those affected lived out and did not normally take
meals in the hospital.
Probable origin of infection or contamination of food was a waitress
in the Nurses' Mess who presumably contaminated food served to those
affected at the Christmas dinner,,
2. Nine Cases
During June, a party of army cadets from a grairmar school in the
provinces came by coach to watch the Royal Tournament at Earl's Court,
and during the performance a number of them were taken ill with suspected
food poisoningo
The party had been provided with luncheon packets which included
meat sandwiches and pasties. Lunch was eaten on the coach at noon, and
those affected commenced vomiting between 5 and 5.30 p.m., and some
developed diarrhoea shortly afterwards. Most of them had recovered by
7 p.m.
Nine of the boys were admitted to a general hospital in Chelsea and
were notified to this Borcrugho These lads had abdominal pains and vomiting
which were quite severe, but recovery was rapid.
The remains of two parcels of sandwiches were recovered and sent
to the Public Health Laboratory at County Hall where staphylococcus aureus
was isolated in both cases, One faecal specimen taken at the hospital
was negative.
In all eighteen were affected in London and 2 adults at the school.

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