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

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St Pancras 1910

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for St. Pancras, London, Borough of]

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It is well to know that unrecognised eases largely spread infectious diseases.
Discovery.—Mild cases of indisposition or disease excite no particular
attention, or are attributed to other than the real cause by parents, guardians,
or friends, and are not submitted to medical examination. In the autumn
there are generally several instances of parents and guardians failing to
recognise as infectious cases of slight disturbances of health in children until
other children become infected and develop typical symptoms.
When cases of suspected infectious diseases occur there is sometimes
considerable difficulty and delay in making an exact medical diagnosis in
certain types of the diseases. Here bacteriological and additional clinical
examinations are brought to bear upon doubtful types, and to check or confirm
the diagnosis.

Bacteriological Tents.—The number of specimens of secretion, blood and sputum submitted to bacteriological tests during the year in suspected cases of Diphtheria, Typhoid or Enteric Fever, and Tuberculosis, and the results of examination, were as follows:—

Bacillus found.Doubtful.Bacillus not found.Total.
Diphtheria (Secretion)21..7091
Reaction obtained.Doubtful.Reaction not obtained.Total.
Typhoid (Blood)14..1529
Bacillus found.Doubtful.Bacillus not found.Total.
Tuberculosis (Sputum)16..5874

Infectious Diseases fall into several categories—
(a) Permanent compulsorily certifiable diseases.
(b) Permanent voluntarily certifiable diseases, e.g., consumption.
(c) Temporary compulsorily certifiable diseases, e.g., chicken-pox when
small-pox is present.
(d) Non-certifiable diseases—
(i.) Diseases notifiable by School Teachers, e.g., measles, whooping
cough, mumps, tonsilitis.
(ii.) Communicable Disorders notifiable bv School Teachers,
e.g., ophthalmia (blight), ringworm, impetigo, scabies,
(iii.) Suspicious Symptoms, e.g., sore throat, feverish cold,
whooping, vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, &c.