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

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City of Westminster 1921

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

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Cleansing of Persons.—The number of Westminster children suffering
from head and body lice treated at the cleansing station was 566, an
increase over the number in 1920. This is probably partly due to the
greater activity of the school nurses in sending cases to the Station at the
first signs of infestation, and to more stringent action where parents
persistently send their children to school in an unsatisfactory condition.

There is, however, a satisfactory decrease in cases of scabies.

Westminster.Head lice.Body lice.Scabies.Total.

All the lice cases were dealt with at the Station, but 19 of the
scabies cases were treated at home.
By arrangement with the County Council school children from
Battersea, Chelsea, Holborn, Kensington, Lambeth, St. Pancras and
St. Marylebone were sent to the Station for cleansing, these numbered
595 for head lice, 41 for body lice, and 40 for scabies.
Each case implies a number of attendances for treatment, and the
disinfection of the clothing, besides which in the Westminster cases the
bedding is removed for disinfection at the same time that the persons
affected are being treated. The 1,148 persons suffering from head lice
had treatment on 1,455 occasions, the 156 with body lice had 192 treatments
and 85 affected with scabies had 369, a total of 2,016 treatments
at the station.
In dealing with the Westminster cases, 513 visits were paid to the
A conference was convened by the County Council to discuss the steps
which might be taken to deal more effectively with verminous conditions.
A Bill has since been drafted to strengthen sections 19 and 20 of Part IV
of the L.C.C. (General Powers) Act, 1904 to repeal the various sections
of Acts dealing with such conditions and re-enact them afresh with the
necessary amendments.
The number of bodies removed to the Council's mortuaries under
order of the Coroner, or to await burial, was 274; in 1 instance death
was the result of infectious disease.
Inquests were held at Horseferry Road, where the Coroner's Court is
situated, in 238 cases, and there were 7 adjourned inquests. Post-mortem
examinations were made in 113 instances.