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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Annual Report of the London County Council, 1912.
Glanders and Hydrophobia in man.
Both these diseases are notifiable in London but no case was recorded during 1912. As regards
glanders in man no case has been notified in London since March, 1910, and in this case the diagnosis
was not confirmed. In the Annual Report of the Council for the year 1910, Vol. III, page 109, there
appeared a report on the whole subject by Drs. J. M. Bernstein and W. H. Hamer including a brief
statements of the main facts concerning the appearances presented by the disease in man and the means
adopted for diagnosis. Appendix II. in the same report, moreover, presented a summary of the known
facts relating to all the cases notified as occurring in the County of London for 18 years from 1893. As
was pointed out at the time it is probable that the number of diagnosed cases did not include all the cases
which occurred, although in 1909 there were nine and in 1908 seven notified cases.
It was estimated by the chief officer of the Public Control Department that in London in 1907
there were about 700,000 horses, but the rapid development of motor traction has resulted in a large
diminution of numbers. From omnibus and tramway stables alone it is estimated that from 45,000
to 60,000 horses have been disposed of, and including the obvious reduction in the number of horse
drawn cabs and carriages, cartage waggons, and delivery vans it is probable that the total number of
horses in the county would not at the present time exceed 300,000.
In the report on human glanders to which reference has just been made it was pointed out that
almost all the known cases of this disease occurred amongst persons working in direct association with
horses, and it is possible that the reduction in the number of horses has been the direct cause of
diminished prevalence of glanders in man. It must not, however, be overlooked that the fact that there
are now fewer horses in London is due to the disposal of the larger studs formerly belonging to the
companies dealing with the conveyance of persons and goods, and of horses belonging to the wealthier
private owners. In all these cases special efforts were made to prevent the outbreak of disease. It is
to the ever-increasing proportion of one-horse owners forming so large a class as to be almost beyond
the control of the authorities that attention must be directed as a possible source of infection. As
stated on page 111 of the Council's Annual Report of 1910-" These horses, often badly fed and overworked,
and so offering little resistance to infection, are still liable to constitute a serious source of
infection, both to other horses and to man." And again, "the men who own these horses would be,
and in fact are, if they suspect themselves to be suffering from any infectious disease, very loth to draw
attention to themselves and interfere with their freedom."
In April, 1912, the London County Council received a communication from the Greenwich and
otheT borough councils asking that leprosy be made a notifiable infectious disease and that sections 55
to 70 of the Public Health (London) Act, 1891, be applied. It was stated that between 20 and 30 persons
suffering from the disease were known to be residing in different places in the metropolis. A reply was
sent to the effect that the London County Council had not before it sufficient evidence to warrant the
inclusion of leprosy in the list of notifiable diseases, but that having regard to the importance of the
suggestion the matter had been brought to the notice of the Local Government Board.

the average of the preceding 65 years. The temperature and rainfall in each month of the year 1912 are shown in the following table:-

Month.Temperature of the air.Departure of mean monthly temperature from average of preceding 65 years.Rain and other forms of precipitation.Departure of mean monthly rainfall from average of preceding 65 years.
Absolute maximum.Absolute minimum.Mean for the month.Number of days it fell.Amount collected.
deg. F.deg. F.deg. F.deg. F.Inches.Inches.
January511940.4+2.0183.03+ 1.15
March623146.9+4.4192.58+ 1.06
April713249.6+ 1.520.04-1.53
July904861.6+0.9111.24— 1.16
August734258.4—4.5264.27+ 1.93
December572645.7+ 6.1212.80+0.97