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

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Kensington 1913

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Kensington Borough]

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In its main features the distribution of the notified cases has been much the same as that of
the deaths from tuberculosis. The difference between the Wards in the North and South is somewhat
greater on account of the facilities afforded by the Talbot Road Dispensary for the diagnosis
and notification of phthisis in large numbers of persons residing in the northern Wards. Without
a subscriber's letter the same provision is not at present made at the Brompton Hospital in the
South, and the death-rates, except in cases where the total number of deaths is too small, constitute
a more reliable standard in the comparison of one Ward with another.

Age and Sex of Persons Notified.

Tuberculosis.Under 5 years.5-15.15-25.25-35.35-45.45-55.55 and upwards.Total.
A. Pulmonary1610655826665989506141372525282346
13. Other Forms333044472214513260410107114
Total at ages for both sexesA.26123921481117850628

The incidence of notification on the two sexes is important, but in pulmonary tuberculosis
bears no resemblance to the incidence of the cases which actually occur. The notified males exceed
the females up to the age of 15 years, and represent children who were examined in school or taken
by their mothers to the tuberculosis dispensary, to hospitals or to private medical practitioners.
Immediately after school age the order is reversed, and the number of males drops to less than half
the number of females. At the ages 25-35 there is still a large deficit in male notifications, which
in round numbers are to female notifications as 60 to 90 or 2 to 3. There is no such difference
between the sexes in the returns of fatal phthisis (v. Appendix) and the explanation is that men at
work will not seek medical advice until they are seriously ill, whilst women can generally find time
to attend at a hospital in the usual afternoon hours. The provision of evening sessions at tuberculosis
dispensaries would accordingly appear to be a measure of the first importance in securing treatment
for male patients before they become incurable and a source of danger to others.

Forms of Tuberculosis in Persons Notified.

Site of Disease.Number of Cases.
Lymphatic Glands other than the Mesenteric76
Larger Joints and Bones above Wrist and Ankle45
Vertebral Column (Spine)34
Smaller Joints and Bones, Wrist, Ankle, Hand, Foot17
Mesenteric Glands, Bowel, Peritoneum20
Urinary Organs, Kidney, Bladder5
Meninges of Brain15
Other Parts4
Total Cases849

Interpreted, the above figures show that out of 221 persons notified as the subjects of nonpulmonary
tuberculosis, 96 were suffering from tuberculous conditions of the spine or other bones
and joints, which frequently lead to partial or total crippling and disablement.
In the following Table, showing the number of rooms occupied by tuberculous patients and
their families, persons who died unnotified have been added to the new cases notified during the
year. The number of rooms in the case of persons under treatment in institutions refers to their
home accommodation before admission :—