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

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London County Council 1912

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

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Report of the County Medical Officer—Education. 183
The scheme consisted of (1) a preliminary examination ; (2) an inspection beginning immediately
after the Whitsun holidays and ending within four weeks; and (3) a final examination during the last
two weeks of the term. The object of the preliminary examination was to ascertain in good time the
children who Would require special care and to warn the parents that if Unsatisfactory conditions were
not remedied the children would not be sent on the holiday.
The first inspection, at which a Children's Country Holiday Fund visitor was present, was made
at the ordinary rota visits, but for the purposes of the final inspection the nurses were authorised to
devote ten working days, beginning on July 8th, always provided that the arrangements for assisting
the school doctors at medical inspection were not disturbed. To facilitate the examination of the children
at the final inspection the schools were grouped and the children attended at a convenient central school,
the details of these arrangements being left to the nurses and the visitors or honorary secretaries of the
local committees.
The scheme as amended appears to have worked very smoothly and given general satisfaction,
and this was probably due to the freedom in the matter of arrangements allowed to the nurses, who in
many cases took much trouble in order to ensure that the children should not be prevented from
obtaining their holiday. The Executive Committee of the Fund have expressed to the Council their
thanks for the way in which the nurses carried out the work.

The following table shows the conditions found during the past year:—

Examination, 1912. (1)Number of pupils.Number of verminous heads found.Percentage of verminous heads among the pupils examined.
Boys. (2)Girls. (3)Boys. (4)Girls. (5)Boys. (6)Girls. (7)

schools and
The following table shows the conditions found during the past year:—
Examination, 1912.
Number of pupils.
Number of verminous heads
Percentage of verminous heads
among the pupils examined.




Seasonal Prevalence of Fleas.
From the beginning of 1909 onwards, the attempt has been made to obtain a detailed record of
the seasonal prevalence of fleas in London. The question was first referred to in a report on " Flies and
Vermin," which appeared as an appendix to the Annual Report of the Medical Officer of Health for
1909. The subject was further discussed on p. 62 of the Annual Report for 1911. The inquiry, had,
until last year, been limited to observation of flea prevalence as affecting persons of the common
lodging-house class, and was carried out by the Council's inspectors of common lodging-houses, who
made notes of the condition of the bedding found in the ordinary course of their routine inspections.
At the latter end of the past year, however, it was found possible to secure the additional information
on the subject made available by the examination of elementary school children. The
accompanying Diagram G shows the seasonal prevalence of fleas for four years, based on the result
of the examination of beds in common lodging-houses, and for the last four months of 1912 the
percentage of flea-marked children has also been plotted out. With regard to the last-mentioned
curve, it should be explained that the uppermost series of circles shows the total percentage of
children observed to be flea-marked irrespective of degree; the lower series of circles shows the
percentage of children flea-marked to a slight degree, whilst the difference between them represents
the percentage badly marked. It is interesting to note that the curve shown by the uppermost
series of circles corresponds very closely with that obtained by the examinations made in common
lodging-houses, and tends to confirm the results obtained in previous years in the class of the
population living in such houses.