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

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Wandsworth 1873

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

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Zymotic Disease.—It is pleasing to report that the
deaths from this class of disease are less by 22 than those
of the previous year. There is a decrease in Small Pox,
Measles, Diphtheria, and Whooping Cough, and an increase
in Fevers (Typhus, Typhoid, and Infantile) and Diarrhoea,
whilst those from Scarlet Fever are exactly the same.
From Small Pox only one death is recorded, so that the
disease may be said to have no abiding place in this part of
the Sub-District. Of the 115 persons who succumbed to
this class of disease, 94 were under 20 years of age, 46
of whom were under 1 year. The principal fatal diseases
were Diarrhoea and Whooping Cough. The preceding
Table will show the fatality of each disease and the respective
ages at which death took place.
Other Causes of Death.—From diseases of the respiratory
organs (excluding Phthisis) 156, viz., Bronchitis 90,
Pneumonia 40, Disease of Lungs 20, Asthma 3, and
Laryngitis 3. Tubercular 106, viz., Phthisis 75, Tabes
Mesenterica 26, and Scrofula 5. Brain and Nerves 100,
Old Age 51, Diseases of Uncertain Seat 50, of Heart 34,
Premature Birth and Low Yitality 23. The noticeable
features in these causes of death are the increase in fatal
cases from Lung diseases as compared with last year, being
50 in excess. Here again infant mortality runs high, no
less than 81 of the total number being under 5 years of
age; from 5 to 40 years only 10 succumbed, and from 40
to 80—58. It would therefore seem that early life and
extreme old age are the stages most susceptible to disease
of the respiratory organs. The deaths from Phthisis show
an increase of 2 on the previous year; 15 took place below
20 years of age, from 20 to 40—33, and from 40 to 60—
21. Here middle age is the period when this terrible
disease exerts its greatest ravages, just the opposite to other
diseases of the respiratory organs. How much the high
price of coals, and consequently deficient warmth amongst
the poor, may have to do in causing this large amount of
mortality from Lung affections it is difficult to say. Of