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

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City of Westminster 1912

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Westminster, City of]

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It is essential that at the same time that the children are treated at
the station that their bedding should also be stoved, so as to destroy any
vermin in it, and for this purpose 2,563 articles were removed from
dwellings in Westminster. A proportion of the children require
attention twice or three times, but 18 had to attend four times, 1 five
times, 5 six times, 2 ten times, and 1 eleven times. Thirty-three children
had their head only affected, 179 the body only, and 24 had both head
and body lice, 11 had fleas only, but 127 were infested with fleas as well
as lice. In 50 of the Westminster houses visited on account of these
conditions in the children, bugs were also found.
Verminous Houses.—In addition to the school cases, 232 notices
were served by the Sanitary Inspectors with reference to vermin in
houses; 33 of these were fumigated with sulphur by the Council's staff,
the remainder being dealt with by the owners. From these houses
1,597 articles were stoved, 290 washed, and 345 destroyed on account
of their verminous condition.
The total number of articles of clothing, bedding, &c., dealt with at
the station on account of vermin was 14,463, of which 2,540
articles were washed and 345 destroyed. In addition, 80 articles were
fumigated on account of itch and 85 on account of ringworm.
In dealing with verminous conditions, 324 visits (of which 279 were
in connection with school children) were paid by the Disinfecting
Superintendent. Eight notices were served at the instance of the
Sanitary Inspectors, with reference to bedding, &c., in a filthy condition.
(General Powers Act, 1904, Section 19 (1.)).
The Bug Flock Act, 1911.—The Local Government Board issued an
Order prescribing under Section 1 (1) of the Bag Flock Act, 1911, a
standard of cleanliness in rag flock. The Order became operative on
July 1st, 1912. By this Act flock is deemed to conform to the needful
standard of cleanliness when the amount of soluble chlorine removed
by thorough washing with distilled water at a temperature not exceeding
25° C. from not less than 40 grammes of a well-mixed sample of flock
does not exceed 30 parts of chlorine in 100,000 parts of the flock.
Subsection (1) of Section 1 of the Act enacts that "it shall not be
lawful for any person to sell or have in his possession for sale flock
manufactured from rags, or to use for the purpose of making any article
of upholstery, cushions, or bedding flock manufactured from rags, or to
have in his possession flock manufactured from rags intended to be used
for any such purpose, unless the flock conforms to such standard of
cleanliness as may be prescribed by regulations to be made by the Local
Government Board, and if any person sells or uses or has in his
possession flock in contravention of the Act he shall be liable on
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