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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With a view of preventing the spread of infection in the schools the London
County Council were urged by your Council, on 21st December, 1910:—
(a) To give directions for the washing out of the infants' departments of
their schools once a week instead of once in three weeks.
(b) To give instructions for the prompt closing of classrooms at all
schools directly measles break out, and for the disinfection and
washing out thereof, before the children are re-admitted.
(c) To cause the children to be carefully examined before they are allowed
to re-enter the school alter exclusion on account of an outbreak of
Letters in reply were received from the London County Council stating that
with regard to the question of the weekly cleansing of infants' departments,
experiments were proceeding with a view to determining the effect of (1) more
frequent (i.e., weekly) cleansing of classrooms in infants' departments, and (2)
daily disinfection of classrooms, and that their Committee who were dealing
with the matter would consider the representations of the Borough Council in
connection with the report which would be presented to them thereon.
As to the suggested closure of affected classrooms immediately upon an outbreak
of measles, their Committee were satisfied that such stringent precautionswould
seriously affect the education of the children without corresponding
advantage in the diminution of the incidence of the disease, and that effective
conti'ol was secured by the judicious exclusion of children who have not
previously had the disease.
On the question of the disinfection and the cleansing of rooms which have
been closed, their Committee were advised that measles is spread almost
entirely by contact with persons suffering from the disease, and that school
furniture and other articles were negligible factors in the dissemination of the
disease. Such disinfection and cleansing, therefore, appeared to them to be
unnecessary for the purpose of preventing the spread of infection.
With regard to the suggested re-examination of children before re-admission,
after exclusion on account of measles, their Committee considered that the
inspection of the children by the teachers, in accordance with the instructions
issued for their guidance, was sufficient to secure that children were not readmitted
to school in an infectious state, and that no useful purpose woidd be
served by the examination of the children by the school doctor.
They further stated that while it appeared that measles was a difficult disease
to control, owing to lack of prompt notification by parents and to the concealment
and ignoiance of the nature of the complaint, the practice of issuing
notices to parents of children likely to be infected immediately the disease
occurred in a school had had beneficial residts.
In considering these views of the London County Council, your Council's
attention was directed to the increase in the number of cases of measles
amongst school children, and they were of opinion that the County Council
should be urged to take strong measures to stamp out the outbreak of measles
amongst children attending their schools. Further, that the Borough Council,

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