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

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Paddington 1908

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Paddington, Metropolitan Borough of]

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Occupations of Parents.—Information was not obtained in 6 of the notified cases as to the
occupation of the father; 5 children were illegitimate and 2 fatherless. Of the remaining
228 children, the fathers of 49 (21*4 per cent.) were reported as "out of work," and those of
109 (47*8 per cent.) were employed in unskilled and generally uncertain occupations, such as
labourers (39), carmen (37), porters (18), etc. Mechanics numbered 16 and shop assistants 6.
The remainder of the cases were children of parents following diverse occupations.
In 44 instances the mothers were returned as employed, 19 being charwomen, 10 laundryworkers,
5 domestic servants, 4 hawkers, and the remaining 5 miscellaneous.
Bacteriological Work.—The Lister Institute arranged to examine daily 4 lots of flies, 12
specimens (each) of fasces and milk (equally divided between cases of diarrhoea and
controls). The following routine was laid down for the Inspectors' guidance, and applied to
each notified case.
Diarrhœa Cases Controls
First day
Make enquiries Take Sample of Milk.
Take sample of milk Set flytrap
Set flytrap Take sample of fceces.
Take sample of fasces
Second day
Pack up flytrap Pack up flytrap
Take sample of faeces
Third day
Take sample of faeces (No call)
The limits imposed by the Institute allowed 9 fresh diarrhoea cases (with their controls)
to be dealt with each week. No selection was exercised in the cases, except such as arose
from any objections being raised by the parents of the children. Much interest in the work
was exhibited by the public, and no serious difficulties were met with. The "controls"
were children of approximately the same ages as the patients, and in the same conditions
of life, care being taken to avoid ailing children, and (so far as was known,) houses infected
with diarrhoea.
Forty-six (46) specimens from diarrhoea patients and 45 from "controls" were
submitted to the Institute. A preliminary letter from the Institute reported that
" Morgan No. 1 " bacillus had been found in 12 of the specimens of fasces from diarrhoea
patients, in 6 lots of flies from infected premises (2 from homes of children in whose fasces the
bacillus had been found) and in one specimen of milk, that provided for a child with the
bacillus in the faeces. The specimens from the " controls " furnished the bacillus—in faeces,
14 cases; and in flies, 5 cases, one lot of flies from the home of a control with the bacillus in
the fasces.
Subsequent special enquiries disclosed the occurrence of diarrhœa in 9 of the 14 " controls "
in whose fasces the bacillus had been found, one of them dying of the disease. Five who
were attacked with diarrhœa within a few days of the collection of the specimens were
transferred to the patients' list by the Institute, and at least 2 others may very properly be
similarly dealt with. Of the remaining 2 who had diarrhœa, one was ill some 3 or 4 months
subsequent to the taking of the specimen, and in the other the diarrhœa accompanied an
attack of measles.

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