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

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Islington 1861

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Islington, Parish of St Mary]

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which is apt to succeed scarlet fever, and which, as will be seen above,
is sometimes fatal and very commonly troublesome to manage, is often
the result of imprudent exposure of the surface of the body to chills
during convalescence, and before the natural functions of the skin have
been fully restored. I have repeatedly mentioned the percautions
which should be taken to avoid the infection of this disease, and to
purify clothing, bedding and furniture, which are so apt to retain and
convey it. I may add now, as some guide to the public in avoiding
the disease, that the liability to it gradually increases from a very trifling
liability in infants at the breast up to five years of age, that it remains high
between five and ten years, lessens from ten to twenty years, and is very
much less from twenty to forty, above which the disease is decidedly of
rare occurrence. The fatality however, when persons of different ages are
attacked, is in a different ratio; it is highest by far in infancy, and
gradually lessens as age advances. The above is the general result of
some tables I have constructed from enquiries carried on in this parish
during the greater part of three years. I ought as another guide to
add, that not only are women in childbed especially liable to suffer
from the infection, but the fever which results is of a prostrating type.
The Inspector of the Eastern division has seized during the month,
at two butcher's shops, forty-four pounds of unwholesome meat, exposed
on the board for sale.
EDWARD BALLARD, M.D.,
Medical Officer of Health
Vestry Offices,
November 4th, 1861.


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