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

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London County Council 1920

Annual report of the Council, 1920. Vol. III. Public Health

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secure the complete eradication of the disease." The necessary steps were therefore taken to secure
wide publicity to the provisions of the new Order in the hope that the adoption of the more liberal
scale of compensation now payable will encourage horseowners to co-operate with the Council.
The powers of the Council under the Glanders or Farcy (Metropolitan Police District) Order of 1911
to destroy nose-bags and other stable material not capable of disinfection, continue to be fully utilised,
and, after each outbreak, all infected material of this kind is burnt at one of the knackers' depots at the
expense of the Council.

The cases of glanders dealt with, and the compensation paid, during 1920 are shown in the following table:—

Horses slaughtered.*Comensation paid.
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* Ewluli.15 Army horses. † Average value of re-actors, £46 5s.
Swine fever.
Swine fever has been very prevalent throughout Great Britain during the past tew years, 44
outbreaks being reported in London during the four years ended 31st December, 1919. The work
carried out during 1920, under the Swine Fever (Regulation of Movement) Order, 1908 was as follows:—
Store pies brought into London, 2939; swine examined at feeder's premises, 28,000; infringements, 17.
Occasional cases of anthrax occur in London, and so long as fodder is imported from abroad it is
probable that sporadic cases will arise. Most stringent precautions in the way of cleansing and disinfection
are taken by the Council's inspectors who personally supervise the destruction of the entire
carcase of an infected animal as well as any article with which it may have come into immediate contact
During 1920 there were 15 cases of anthrax among men, of which four proved fatal. In 11 of these
infection was traced to the handling of imported hides, hair, etc., in the course of the patients' employment,
and in the remaining four to the use of infected shaving-brushes. One case of animal anthrax in
London was confirmed during 1920.
Although deaths from hydrophobia are now very rare, thirty years ago they were fairly frequent.
The most efficacious measures for stamping out the disease are muzzling, the seizure of all stray dogs,
and the regulation of the importation of dogs. Under the Dogs Order, 1906, which revoked all then
existing muzzling regulations, the Council made new regulations requiring the wearing of collars by dogs
while on a highway. Under these regulations, 11,611 dogs were seized by the police during 1920 and
7,244 destroyed. In April, 1919, rabies was proved at Byfleet, Surrey, in a dog which had strayed from
Ealing, and, following thereon, the London, Middlesex and District (Muzzling and Control of Dogs)
Order, 1919, was promulgated, restricting the movement of dogs in the whole of London and Middlesex
and parts of adjoining counties, and requiring a dog in the prescribed area at all times, (a) whilst in any
public place, to be properly muzzled with a wire muzzle, and (6) whilst in any other place to be kept
under control. The existence of rabies at Shepherd's Bush led to the issue of the London, Middlesex and
District (Muzzling and Control of Dogs) Order of 1919 (No. 4), which, as regards Hammersmith, made
the provisions of the earlier order more stringent. Five subsequent Orders merely extended or reduced
the area of muzzling or leading control. In consequence of the decrease in the number of cases the
Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries issued the London, Middlesex and District (Muzzling and Control of
Dogs) Order of 1920, which came into operation on 2nd February, 1920. This Order withdrew the
muzzling and movement restrictions on dogs in London and certain parts of the counties of Middlesex,
Hertford, Bucks, Southampton and Surrey, but muzzling restrictions remained in force in parts of the
counties of Middlesex, Bucks, Berkshire, Southampton and Surrey. A further Order revoked, as from
26th July, 1920, the whole of the various London, Middlesex and District (Muzzling and Control of Dogs)
Orders. In consequence, however, of the confirmation of a case of rabies at Acton, the Ministry made the
Middlesex (Acton and District) (Control of Dogs) Order, 1920, requiring the muzzling at all times and the
leading in a public place of all dogs in an inner controlled area comprising Ealing, Hammersmith, Willesden
Acton, Chiswick, Old Brentford, Isleworth, Twickenham, Heston, Norwood (adjoining Hanwell), Hanwell,
Greenford, Perivale, Wembley and West Twyford. The Order provided that dogs must not be moved
out of this area. The movement of dogs was also prohibited from a district surrounding the inner area
and including the whole of the County of London, the greater part of Middlesex, and small parts of
Surrey, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire. The Council has brought the Order to the notice of persons
concerned and, as in the case of previous Orders, the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis has
been asked to enforce the provisions of the new Order so far as the County of London is concerned,
and to institute legal proceedings.
Thirty-nine cases of suspected rabies in dogs in London were notified during 1920. In 5 cases
the animals were allowed to live, the suspicious conditions being attributable to other causes than rabies.
In the remaining 34 cases the animals were killed and post-mortem examinations made, all the results
being negative. A few persons have been bitten by suspected animals, but the Council's inspectors have
been able to reassure the persons that the animals were not suffering from rabies. Altogether the
Council's veterinary inspectors have dealt with 163 cases of suspected rabies, their diagnosis being, in every
case, confirmed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.
A corollary to the Rabies Orders was the issue of Importation of Dogs Orders, under which dogs
can come into Great Britain from abroad only under licence from the Ministry. The Council is responsible
for seeing that the terms of the licences are complied with, the principal condition being the detention of
the imported dog on special premises under observation for a considerable period after landing. Several
prosecutions for breaches of the regulations have been found necessary.

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