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

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London County Council 1934

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

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"At Goldie Leigh hospital all cases of plantar warts are treated by X-rays, a pastille dose and
a half is given, the skin around the warts being completely screened. If that is not sufficient,
a second dose is given after the lapse of a month. Other effective treatments are the actual
cautery and surgical removal after freezing with carbon dioxide. If the warts are very superficial
they can sometimes be got rid of by the continuous application of 30 per cent. salicylic
plaster. At Goldie Leigh hospital there are generally a few cases, but there has never been any
serious epidemic.
" It is a curious fact, connected with all warts, that certain drugs, such as green iodide of
mercury, and large doses of magnesium sulphate, may cause them to disappear. The explanation
of this is a problem which must be left to the biochemist, in the same way as the explanation
why warts not infrequently disappear, apparently spontaneously."
The medical officer of the borough in which the school was situated from which the cases
were reported was informed with regard to the question of swimming baths, and he wrote to the
school medical officer that the floors of the dressing boxes of the baths are all tiled and are flushed
after each occupation, and no grids or mats of any kind are used in the baths. The bath surrounds,
which are tiled and sloping about one inch in three feet, are frequently flushed and the drains
are treated with izal. Periodically the bath surrounds are, also, treated with chloros. The
foot bath accommodation is ample and carbolic soap is provided for use by bathers and all
towels issued to bathers are boiled.
All the cases in the above-mentioned outbreak cleared up after treatment.
The probable average duration was 8 months, and the duration of treatment before
cure months. A further recent case has arisen in the same school, and a number
of scattered cases have been reported from other schools including one secondary
school. It is remarkable that all the cases reported have been girls, and that all
were regular visitors to public swimming baths.
The returns of the school doctors who re-inspect children found at the routine
inspections in elementary schools to be ailing and in need of treatment make it possible
to compile a statistical record of following-up. During 1934, 138,654 children were
re-inspected, a decrease of 23,496 on the number for 1933. At the first re-inspection
89,869 cases of defects requiring treatment (some children having more than one
defect) were reviewed. At the second re-inspection 48,785 cases not cleared up at
a first re-inspection were again reviewed. By combining the results of both reinspections
it is found that 75.1 per cent. of the children re-inspected were treated
or discharged as no longer requiring treatment. This figure is not in gross so good
as that of the previous years. In 1933 the figure was 82.2 per cent.
It is the dental cases, however, which during the past year contributed more
than one half of the cases to be followed-up, that cause the most difficulty and give
the worst results. If these be eliminated the cases of defect satisfactorily dealt
with at the time of the second re-inspection reached the proportion of 84.8 per cent.

Table 5 First Re-inspections, 1934. ( Percentages are given in italic type.)

Defect treated.No. of Cases.Treated.Untreated.
By private doctor.Under Council's scheme.At other hospitals.Discharg'dImproved. For observation only.Still needing treatment.
Discharg'dNot discharg'dDischarg'dNot discharg'dDischarg'dNot discharg'd
Minor ailments5,599118211,0672953221291,5689291,150
Nose and throat10,88034113,260152574921,5161,7743,467
Other ailments9,481177685975867716482,1713,0701,393