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

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London County Council 1900

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

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Diphtheria—Cases occurring at ages313per cent. of total notified cases.

Sanitary district.1896.1897.1898.1899.1900.Sanitary district.1896.1897.1898.1899.1900.
Kensington54.661.854.551.661.7St. George-in-the-East55.466.551.360.648.3
Chelsea61.361.565.960.466.7Mile-end Old-town63.062.558.863.360.1
St. George, Hanover-square56.163.250.548.356.0Poplar58.163.064.657.766.5
St. Saviour, South-wark61.455.861.772.657.8
St. James45.954.050.064.956.4St. George, Soath-wark64.966.356.768.866.1
Pancras60.358.761.060.163.8St. Olave56.857.168.751.650.0
Stoke Newington63.759.355.666.767.7Rotherhithe54.161.647.668.462.8
St. Giles55.061.860.045.250.0Battersea57.859.167.068.357.8
St. Martin-in-the-Fields62.535.775.041.221.4Wandsworth51.862.963.465.865.9
Holborn52.861.655.249.258.2Lewisham (excluding Penge)63.757.860.563.767.2
St. Luke56.860.255.750.053.9Woolwich56.968.270.664.654.5
London, City of50.755.635.638.643.1Lee57.956.460.551.169.5

It will be observed that while there have been considerable fluctuations in the proportion
of cases at ages 3—13 in the several districts the proportion has in London up to the year 1889
steadily increased. The proportions obtaining for the whole of London in each of the years 18921900
inclusive were as follows—
Cases at ages 3—13 per cent.
of total cases.
1892 50.9
1893 51.0
1894 57.8
1895 57.8
1896 60.3
1897 60.5
1898 61.8
1899 62.9
1900 62.6
Diphtheria—Proportion of cases and deaths in hospitals.
Diagram XIII. (page 25), shows the proportion of London cases of diphtheria admitted into
the hospitals of the Metropolitan Asylums Board during each of the years 1890-1900 inclusive,
and the proportion of deaths from this disease which occurred in these institutions during each
of the years 1888-1900. It will be seen that these proportions were greater in 1900 than in any
previous year.
Return cases.
In Paddington the return of a child from hospital after attack with diphtheria was followed
at the end of a week by attack of his brothers. The first child suffered from slight discharge
from the nose. "Swabs were taken from the nose and throat. In that from the throat a very
few bacilli were found which might be B. diphtherice." In Kensington "return" cases occurred
in two instances, the interval between the coming back from the hospital of the first case and the
attack of the next child being four days, and between the return of the first case and the notification
of the second being eleven days. In both instances diphtheria bacilli were discovered in
the throat of the child who had returned. In Shoreditch one "return" case was observed. In
Battersea the return home of two children who had been removed to hospital on account of attack
of scarlet fever was followed in each instance by the attack of another child with diphtheria.
Diphtheria—Age and sex distribution.
The following table shows the cases, deaths, case-rates, death-rates and fatality of
diphtheria at the several ages and for each sex in London during 1900. As in preceding years,
the incidence of attack at "all ages" was greater on females than on males, but the death rate
and fatality were higher among males than among females. In the age groups adopted for the
purposes of this table the greatest incidence of attack was upon males and females of four years of
age, and the greatest incidence of death was upon males of one year and females of two years of
age. The fatality was greatest among males of one year of age and females under one year of age.