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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Shoreditch and Stepney, is below that of the best group twenty years ago, which comprised
the boroughs of Hampstead, Lewisham, Stoke Newington, Wandsworth and Woolwich.
The same rate of decrease cannot go on indefinitely, and it is probable that we
are now approaching a more stable rate. This would appear from consideration of
the figures shown in the table on page 14, from which it will be seen that the rate of
decrease of mortality differs widely in different conditions and that such causes of
death as congenital debility and immaturity have not shown anything like the
decrease shown in, for instance, tuberculosis.
Infectious Diseases.
The notifications, attack-rates and death-rates of the principal infectious diseases
in London in 1934 and earlier years are shown in the tables on pages 29 to 32, and for
the constituent metropolitan boroughs in 1934 in the table on page 29.
Three cases of anthrax were notified during the year, one each in the boroughs
of Camberwell, Deptford and Bermondsey.
The patient in Camberwell, a male aged 26 years, worked for a firm of skin
merchants in the metropolitan borough of Southwark, and the borough medical
officer of health was of opinion that he was infected in the course of his employment.
The patient died three days after his admission to Guy's hospital.
The source of infection of the case in Deptford, a male aged 30 years, was
attributed to goat skins which he had handled in the course of his employment as a
barge hand. The site of the disease was the angle of the left lower jaw. The patient
was admitted to St. Olave's hospital, and made a satisfactory recovery.
The patient in Bermondsey was a male, aged 22, who was employed as a waterside
labourer and had recently handled American hides and New Zealand wool. The
source of infection was, however, not established. The site of the disease was the
right forearm. The patient was admitted to Guy's hospital, and made a complete
The number of persons notified as suffering from smallpox was 144 (compared
with 531 in 1933), and of these, 4 were discharged as not suffering from smallpox.
The last confirmed case was notified and admitted to hospital on 20th June. Only
one case was notified after that date, and this proved to be not smallpox. No cases
have been notified during 1935 up to the present (August), and London has, therefore,
been free from the disease for the past fourteen months.

The following table shows the incidence of the disease in the years 1933 and 1934 in the separate London boroughs:—

Metropolitan Borough.Number of notifications.Metropolitan Borough.Number of notifications.
KensingtonBethnal Green111
St. MaryleboneSouth—
St. PancrasBermondsey.217
Stoke NewingtonBattersea41
City of LondonWoolwich2