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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was a commercial traveller employed in London only. A few months before a child in the same street
had been certified to have smallpox, but the malady was later regarded as chickenpox.
Fulham._The medical officer of health reports_
"Two cases were notified in a house in In the first case the disease was contracted in
Kensington where the patient had been living up to the time of his illness. The second patient, unlike
the other inmates of the house, refused to be vaccinated."
Chelsea._The medical officer of health reports that the malady of the two persons who were
certified to be suffering from smallpox was found later to be chickenpox.
St. James, Westminster._A tabular statement in the report of the medical officer of health shows
that each of the three cases occurring in this district was an adult, two of the cases residing in the
same house ; all were removed to hospital.
Islington._The medical officer of health reports that of the persons certified to be suffering from
smallpox during the year one did not suffer from this disease. In point of time the cases were
distributed as follows_12 in the first quarter, 13 in the second and 20 in the third quarter, Of this
number the source of infection was unknown in 14 cases, and in 7 was stated to be uncertain, but
4 of the latter lived in houses adjoining others in which recognised smallpox occurred. Information
as to 2 cases of smallpox in Keighley (Yorks), was received from the medical officer of
health of that district. Both sufferers had, previous to their illness, stayed at a
in Hornsey.rise. The knowledge of this circumstance led to the discovery of antecedent
smallpox in that neighbourhood, it having come to sanitary inspector Ward's recollection that
some time previously he had seen a man standing at a door in Hornsey.rise with a sore face
from which matter was oozing. He was at once sought out, and was found at work, and it was noticed
that his face showed unmistakable signs of confluent smallpox. He had then completely recovered.
It was further discovered that his wife had had two or three spots on her face. The man's illness had
been thought to be chickenpox. No considerable extension of the disease from this case is known to
have occurred.
Prevalence of smallpox in Campbell.road and its vicinity led the sanitary authority to adopt
special measures towards the end of June for its limitation. Dr. Leslie Thorne was therefore appointed
" to make a inspection in the streets in which smallpox had appeared, particularly in
Campbell.road, in order to ascertain if any cases remained undiscovered and also to vaccinate, if
permission were given, all persons who had been exposed to infection." Dr. Thorne " for weeks
diligently kept watch and ward over those houses and streets in which smallpox had appeared. This
action of the Public Health Committee was most prudent, and was the means of bringing to an
end what might have proved a much more serious outbreak."
Hackney._ The medical officer of health reports that of eight persons who were certified to be
suffering from smallpox, and who were removed to hospital, two on admission were thought not to be
suffering from this disease; of the remaining six, the source of infection was not known in the case of
three ; two had been associated with other persons suffering from smallpox, the other was a rag.sorter
and was supposed to have been infected by the rags.
Holborn._One case was notified during the year, a child aged eight months, who died after 11
hours illness. An inquest was held, and the cause of death was returned as " a convulsive fit after
some eruptive fever, probably smallpox." Concerning this case the medical officer of health writes " I
afterwards found that another child in the same house had died three weeks previously of cerebrospinal
meningitis, I think, taking this into consideration and the nature of the eruption, that the above
was a case of cerebro.spinal fever."
Shoreditch._One case of smallpox was dealt with during the year. A man who had been living
in a common in Limehouse removed to a common in Shoreditch where he
was taken ill the end of the year 1895. His attack of smallpox proved fatal.
Whitechapel_Only two cases of smallpox occurred in Whitechapel in 1896, one of which came
from Gloucester.
Limehouse._Seven cases of smallpox occurred in this district during the year, one in the Home
for Asiatics, three in a house in Maroon.street, the first of the three infecting the other two, one in a
common in St. Ann.street, and two in a house in Gill.street. The source of infection
was only known in the second and third cases in Maroon.street. All the sufferers were adults, five had
been vaccinated in infancy, the condition as to vaccination of one was unknown, and one was
unvaccinated. All the patients were removed to hospital.
Foplar._Eight persons in Poplar parish and one in Bow were certified during the year to be
suffering from smallpox. Seven of the eight cases in Poplar were removed to hospital, two of which
were returned to their homes as the diagnosis was not confirmed. The illness of the person who was
not removed to hospital was eventually found not to be smallpox. The five persons retained in hospital
were members of one family ; the history of this group was as follows_a mother and her son contracted
the disease from visiting the daughter of the former in, who was suffering from smallpox
; the mother infected her husband, the son infected his wife and child. The case in Bow parish
was removed to hospital; the patient had been vaccinated in infancy, his wife and four children, who
had also been vaccinated, escaped smallpox.
Newington._Three cases of smallpox were notified in this district, one death occurred, that of an
unvaccinated child. All the cases were removed to hospital.
Lambeth._The report of the medical officer of health contains an interesting account of the
behaviour of smallpox in houses which were invaded by this disease during the year, the condition as
to vaccination of the inmates having been noted_
On December 8th, 1895, Emily F., aged 26 years, and vaccinated in infancy, was notified as
suffering from smallpox, at 39, Wootton.street. and was removed to hospital next day. Her husband
had been re.vaccinated, and their only child (Emily F.) aged nine months, and unvaccinated, was removed
to 50, Ethelm.street, where she sickened 12 days after her mother had been removed to hospital. This
child was not, however, removed to hospital (where it died) until four days after the appearance of the