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

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Hampstead 1960

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

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The notification rates for pulmonary tuberculosis are given in the table below for the period 1948 to 1958 for England and Wales and for Hampstead for the period 1948 to 1960.

YearNotifications per 100,000 population
England & WalesHampsteadEngland & WalesHampstead

It will be seen that the rate for the country as a whole
remained substantially unchanged until 1953 and then over the next
five years showed a decrease of about one third for males and one
half for females. In Hampstead the rate has been consistently
higher than the national average for males and about the same as
the national average for females, and that for both males and
females the reduction in the rate is only now showing itself. This
position applies not only to Hampstead but also to the adjoining
boroughs which comprise the north western portion of the County
of London.
Mention has been made in previous reports of the reduction
in the number of deaths from pulmonary tuberculosis due to earlier
ascertainment and improved methods of treatment. The improved
treatment which has been available in recent years not only reduces
the deaths but can in many cases render and keep a patient
non-infectious to other people. In a closed community or one where
there is little change in the population the reduction in the number
of infectious cases shows fairly quickly in the reduction in the
number of new cases, but where there is a considerable change in
the population as in Hampstead and north western London generally,
the effect is much slower.
Another factor which affects Hampstead is the susceptibility
of different peoples to tuberculosis. Whilst the chances
of contracting tuberculosis depend on the individual, it is