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Lambeth 1927

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

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of diphtheria toxin, to which has been added sufficient antitoxin to
neutralise such toxin. In this way, artificial immunity is secured.
Official effect is being given in Lambeth to the Schick test, and
the subsequent artificial acute immunisation, by the Board of
Guardians at the Norwood Schools, and the results are reported
(up to date) to be proving satisfactory. These are the only Lambeth
statistics that are officially available, but they are satisfactory as
far as they go, and, as they have already appeared in print publicly,
may be set on record as follows:—
Since 1922, a total of 1,288, including 35 staff, have been
tested, yielding 432 positives, and 380 have been immunised.
Among 562 children in the Schools in 1924-5, there were no
diphtheria cases, and in 1925-6 two cases, in children whose
parents had refused consent; whereas, in the Schools Infirmary,
where immunisation is not carried out amongst the inmates
(number averaging 162), in 1924-5 there were 12 cases, and, in
1925-6, 19 cases, amongst children not admitted as diphtheria
Equally satisfactory reports have been issued from New York
City, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Liverpool, etc.*
The London County Council, as the Educational Authority, will
have to make the decision, sooner or later, as to whether or not the
thousands and thousands of diphtheria-susceptible school children
in Lambeth, and in other Metropolitan districts, are to be Schicktested
and, afterwards, rendered immune artificially against diphtheria,
as in New York City. Such a simple and comparatively
painless and harmless bacteriological preventive measure might
certainly be tried by the London County Council, especially in view
of the large saving of school children's lives that is promised
The Borough Council's responsibility in regard to diphtheriaprevention
has reference to children under school age, and the
population generally over the school age period. In connection with
the former, the highest diphtheria mortality rate is amongst infants
(under 1 year of age), children (1 year of age), and other children
(2 to 4 years of age). The Medical Officer of Health (Dr. Priestley)
presented a special report on the whole subject to the Council on
September 22nd, 1927.
* The most up-to-date improvement is to use toxoid instead of toxin—
the toxoid being toxin which has been neutralised with the necessary amount
of formalin solution.

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