Hints from the Health Department. Leaflet from the archive of the Society of Medical Officers of Health. Credit: Wellcome Collection, London
[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for London County Council]
highest death rate (0.91) and the north and west the lowest (0.61), while of the several districts St. Olave
|Sanitary district.||Deaths, 1896.||Deaths rate per 1,000 living.||Sanitary district.||Deaths, 1896.||Deaths rate per 1,000 living.|
|St. George, Hanover||Mile-end Old-town||95||.87||.84|
|Westminster||35||.66||.64||St. Saviour, Southwark||23||.79||.90|
|St. James||10||.38||.43||St. George, Southwark||64||.92||1.04|
|St. Martin - in - the||Camberwell||176||.65||.68|
|Cler ken well||88||.96||1.31||Lee||15||.42||.38|
|London, City of||5||.27||.16||London||3,199||.69||.711|
The medical officer of health of Fulham states that nearly all the infants in his district who
died from diarrhoea were hand fed, and that more than half the deaths of illegitimate children in
July and August were due to diarrhoea.
The number of deaths attributed to cholera and choleraic diarrhoea registered in the year 1896
was 95, compared with 74 in 1895, while the number of cases notified as " cholera " in 1896 was 13, as
compared with 29 in 1895.
On the 9th July I reported to the Public Health Committee the fact that cases of cholera had
occurred at Alexandria, and that one case of cholera had been reported at Dantzic. I advised that the
arrangements adopted in former years, with reference to the institution of inquiries concerning suspected
cases of Asiatic cholera in London, should be continued, and I was authorised to make use, if necessary,
of Dr. Klein's services for the purpose of bacteriological examination. I thereupon communicated, as in
previous years, with medical officers of health, informing them of the Committee's decision. Systematic
inquiiy was instituted concerning all cases notified or certified as cholera or choleraic diarrhcea, and
concerning all cases brought to my notice by medical officers of health.
In three instances a bacteriological examination was made, but in each case the examination
showed that there was no evidence pointing to the disease being Asiatic cholera.
The following is a brief account of the three cases referred to—
(i.) W. S., male, aged 50, a costermonger, dealing in fish and fruit, and living in Orbstreet,
Newington. This man went on July 14th to Belvedere for a day's holiday. It is not
known what he ate or drank on that day, save that he had some strawberries. On
July 17th and 18th he suffered from diarrhcea. On July 19th he was compelled to keep in
bed, as he began to have severe abdominal pains and cramps all over his body. Nothing
is known as to the character of the evacuations. On July 20th he was pulseless and collapsed,
and his condition rapidly becoming worse he died shortly after noon on that day. The
medical man who attended the patient reported that the case was one of cholera, and
Dr. Millson, medical officer of health of Newington, communicated with me, and it was
arranged that a post-mortem examination should be made.
This examination took place on July 21st. Beyond the fact that the liver showed
indications of fatty degeneration, no obvious signs of disease was found in any organ of the
body. The small intestines contained a little fluid material which was faintly bile-stained. A
piece of the lower part of the ileum was taken to Dr. Klein, who found no evidence that the
case was one of Asiatic cholera.
(ii.) E. H., male, aged 53, a navvy living in Arpley-road, Penge, was taken ill on July
26th. He suffered at first from diarrhcea, vomiting and cramps supervened later in the day.
The medical man who was called in regarded the case as a suspicious one, as did also his
partner, who had had experience of cholera abroad, and who found the patient on July 27th
collapsed and blue with complete loss of voice and suffering from cramping pain in the limbs.
There was, moreover, profuse discharge from the lower bowel of fluid material like serum.
The patient had passed urine at 8 a.m., but did not, so far as could be ascertained, subsequently
pass any. The patient died at 4 p.m. on July 27th.
E. H. had lived with his wife in Penge for many years, in eariy life he had been abroad
and had suffered from malaria. For two or three days before the commencement of his
1 See footnote (1), page 7.