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

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Lambeth 1908

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

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One private school was closed in November 1908, for 3
weeks on account of an outbreak of Diphtheria (3 cases in
an average attendance of 25). 4 schools were disinfected
during 1908 in connection with outbreaks of Diphtheria,
viz., Cormont Road L.C.C., Stockwell College, Stockwell
Practising School, and Stockwell Practising School Senior.
4, 3 and 2 cases of Diphtheria respectively occurred in
1908 in connection with the scholars attending Classroom
D of Archbishop Sumner's School (Girls'), Classroom
B of the Infants' Department of Stockwell College, and
Class-room D of the Stockwell Road Schools (Infants). All
cases of sore throat were excluded, and not re-admitted
until certified as free from infection (the certificates based on
bacteriological examinations). No further cases occurred in
any of the 3 Schools.
As showing the value of baqteriological examinations in
connection with cases of sore throats and diphtheria, mention
may be made of two interesting outbreaks:—
(a) Two cases of diphtheria occurred in a Children's Ward
of a Hospital in Lambeth during 1908 (December). The
throats and noses of all the inmates of the Ward, including
the nursing and cleansing staff, a total of 35, were bacteriologically
examined, with the result that the two diphtheria
cases amongst the children were traced to a Ward Attendant,
whose throat showed the presence of attenuated or
modified diphtheria or pseudo-diphtheria germs, pointing to
a mild (unrecognised) diphtheria attack some weeks before.
The Ward was emptied and disinfected, and no other case
(b) A case of uncertified death occurred at a milk shop in
Lambeth (Stockwell Ward) during 1908 (November), and
bacteriological examination of the throat of the dead child
showed the presence of the true Klebo-Loeffler diphtheria
germs, pointing to the death being due to diphtheria—a
diagnosis confirmed afterwards in the Coroner's Court.

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