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—General.
Cerebrospinal Fever.
During 1912, 105 persons were certified to be suffering from cerebro-spinal fever and 4 deaths
were attributed to this disease.

The number of deaths in each year since 1901. has been as follows:—


As stated in the last annual report, the larger number of deaths attributed to this cause in 1907
was probably an indirect effect of the Council making an Order requiring cases of this disease to be
notified. The requirement of notification did not become operative until the 12th of March, 1907,
and during the remainder of that year 135 cases were notified, or 50 more than in the whole of the year
1908. In 1909 there were 111 notified cases, 115 in 1910, and 101 in 1911. In March, 1912, the Council
extended the Order for another period of twelve months.

The age distribution of the 105 cases notified in 1912 was as follows:—

Sex.Cerebro-spinal fever—Age distribution of notified cases, 1912.
0-1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-13-15 +All ages

Two of the deaths were those of infants under one year of age, and the remaining two those of
persons over five years of age. No cases were notified in Chelsea, Greenwich, Hampstead, Kensington,
Stoke Newington.
Inquiry was made into the notified cases by Dr. Wanklyn, who found no evidence that any one
verified case was connected with another. Of the 105 cases notified, in 42 the final diagnosis confirmed
the original diagnosis, in 11 this diagnosis was reversed, and in the remaining 52 the evidence was
doubtful. Of the 42 cases verified on final diagnosis a post-mortem examination was made in 13 and
bacteriological evidence was obtained in 17 ; the nature of this evidence was usually not stated, and
as the examinations were made by different bacteriologists, there would in all probability be varying
definitions of what might be considered as bacteriological evidence of the disease.
Anterior poliomyelitis.

suffering from anterior poliomyelitis. The age distribution of the 132 cases notified during 1912 was as follows:-

Sex.0-1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-13-15 +All ages.

No cases of the disease were notified in Holborn, Kensington and Shoreditch.
Of the 132 cases notified, in 61 the final diagnosis confirmed the original diagnosis, in 5 this
diagnosis was reversed and in the remaining 66 the evidence was doubtful.
Only one case of anthrax was notified during 1912. This case occurred in Fulham in the person
of a poulterer regularly attending Smithfield Market. The part affected was the forehead, and the
patient recovered.
In addition, Dr. Thomas, the medical officer of health for Finsbury, records a case of anthrax
occurring in a workman employed in a horse-hair factory in the borough. The illness was associated with
the taking up of an old wooden floor of a storage room. The woodwork was well soaked with a resinous
disinfectant before being disturbed and Dr. Thomas suggests that resinous disinfectants are not in
practice effective for dealing with anthrax spores.
(a) See footnote (c) page 4.