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

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Strand (Westminster) 1898

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Strand District, London]

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Bond Works for the Stand District.
Consumption is a communicable disease. Every case of
Consumption has received the infective material (a minute living
germ or microbe) either from man or infected food (milk and meat).
These germs are contained in enormous quantities in the matter
coughed up by persons suffering from Consumption of the lungs,
(Pulmonary Tuberculosis) and so long as this matter remains moist it
is not dangerous, but when it becomes dry the germs may be inhaled
in the form of dust, and thus produce the disease in the person
inhaling it.
The germs are able to live outside the body for long periods,
in damp, dark, dirty places, and especially in ill - ventilated,
dark or overcrowded rooms, but they are killed promptly by
sunlight and fresh air.
Some persons are specially liable to acquire this disease, that is
to say they are unable to resist and throw off the germs of Consumption
when attacked by them. This weakness may be in the
constitution at birth, and care should be taken to protect such
persons from any chance of catching the disease.
A similar want of resistance may be produced in persons by
intemperance, overcrowding, insanitary conditions, dusty occupations,
want of proper and sufficient food, by infectious and other lowering
Consumption is not necessarily fatal, but can often be cured if
its nature be recognised early, and if proper means be taken for its