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

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London County Council 1896

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for London County Council]

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Sanitary district. Cases, 1896. Case rate per 1,000 living. Deaths, 1895. Death rate per 1,000 living.

Sanitary district Cases 1896.Case rate per 1,000 livingDeaths 1895.Deaths rate per 1,000 living.
St. Giles_.52__.020_
St. Luke2.21.05_.014_
London, City of2.2306_.010_
Mile.end Old.town2.42.02_.015_
St. Saviour, Southwark4.18.02___
St. George, Southwark3.46.05_.015_
St. Olave_.21__.016_
Port of London5_____

The reports of the medical officers of health supply the following more detailed information as
to cases of smallpox occurring in 1896.
Kensington..The report of the medical officer of health contains the following statement.
As already stated, thirteen cases of the disease were notified during the year; four of these cases were
recorded in January. The first case was that of a married woman, whose illness began three weeks after
her confinement, she not having been out of the house since that event. How the infection was conveyed
to her remains a mystery. Her baby subsequently fell ill of the disease, having been infected by the
mother. The other cases were a mother and an adult son, who fell ill almost simultaneously; the
common source of infection was not discovered. In the fourth report a group of five cases was recorded,
which, as illustrative of a common mode of the spread of this highly infectious disease, is deserving
of notice. The first case was that of a tinker, named Christopher C., aged 17, an inmate of a common in the Potteries district, Notting.dale, who was removed to hospital on the 24th March
from the West London Hospital, at which he had applied for medical treatment. He was stated to have
been ill since the 19th March, having been tramping about the country with a brother both before and
after that date. During the first week in March he had spent some time at a at Little.
hampton, the landlady of which was removed to hospital whilst he was there, suffering, as alleged, from
smallpox. From her it is supposed that he contracted the disease. The men tramped thence to
Worthing, putting up for a few nights at a, whence, it is said, a man was removed to
hospital suffering from smallpox during their stay. This man had previously been at Littlehampton.
The brothers next moved to Shoreham, where C. C. fell sick. Thence they walked to Brighton, and
on 21st March they came to London by train, going to the common referred to above.
The second case was that of a boy, Walter M., aged two years. He lived at a little house, practically
within the curtilage of the common, where he came in contact with C. C., and in due
time he fell ill with smallpox. He was removed to hospital on April 7th. This boy's father, at some
date not exactly fixed, but after the child fell ill, left town on the tramp. His wife, Jane M., aged
23, fell ill on the 19th April, and was removed to hospital on the 21st. The fourth case was that of
Annie H., aged 23, wife of the keeper of the common lodging.hguse. She fell ill about the same
time, and was also removed on the 21st. The last case was that of Walter M., aged 31, who, having
gone from London after his boy's illness developed, returned home on April 23rd, having fallen ill on
the 21st. He was removed to hospital on the 24th. It was stated that this man had stayed at Kingston
on the 16th April, at Horsham on the 17th, at Worthing on the 18th, at Shoreham on the 19th, at Brighton
on the 20th, at Eastbourne (where he was alleged to have fallen ill) on the 21st, and at Lewes on the
22nd. From the latter town he came home by train, as stated, on the 23rd. I need hardly say that all
necessary steps were taken for preventing the spread of the disease, viz., by vaccination and by closing
the common lodging and the other house for disinfection, with the result that no further cases occurred.
I communicated the facts of the outbreak to the medical officers of health for Littlehampton and
Worthing, and for Eastbourne and Lewes, so that they might be on the look.out for cases of the disease
at the due dates, but happily there were none.
Hammersmith..During the year one case of smallpox occurred in this district; the sufferer
* See footnote (1), page 7.