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

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Wandsworth 1862

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Wandsworth District, The Board of Works (Clapham, Putney, Streatham, Tooting & Wandsworth)]

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In the years 1859 and 1861, the sub-district was
severely visited by small-pox, and in the present year
(1863) it is again unhappily the prevailing epidemic;
promising to visit us still more severely, and to attack
alike all classes and conditions of life, as well as all ages.
The oldest patient under my care, a lady in affluent circumstances,
was 57 years. A female of 50, a male of 32,
and several between those ages, have also been assigned
to my care, suffering more or less severely from this
loathsome malady.
I continue to supply most of my medical brethren in the
neighbourhood with vaccine lymph, by which means I am
kept tolerably well informed of the progress of the disease,
and of vaccination in the parish. Most of my medical
friends agree with me in the opinion that re-vaccination has
become an absolute necessity. The neglect of vaccination
in infant life I still have to deplore as a most serious evil,
and when I mention the fact of having lately, by dint of
great persuasion, brought under vaccination several
adults, and sometimes as many as two, three, and four
grown-up children in a family, who were previously unprotected,
I cannot do otherwise than approve of the
recommendation which emanated a short time ago from
one of my colleagues (Dr. Whiteman), to the effect that
your honourable Board and the Board of Guardians
should unite in issuing cautionary notices as to vaccination.
The manner in which this has been done by both
Boards I have good grounds for stating has already resulted
in giving a considerable check to the progress of
small-pox in this populous locality.