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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During the year one death from smallpox occurred, particulars of which are as follows:—

Borough.Age.Sex.Vaccinal condition.Date of death.Certified cause of death.
Southwark16M.Unvaccinated18.2.34I (a) Encephalomyelitis. (b) Smallpox.

The following table shows the numbers of persons notified as suffering from smallpox within the administrative county of London since the year 1928, when the mild or western type of the disease first invaded London:—

Year.Number of notifications.Year.Number of notifications.
19305,1491934144 (no confirmed case after 20th June).

A short history of the epidemic appears in vol. IV (part I) of this report.
Information regarding the action taken by the school medical service in collaboration
with the borough health services in connection with the control of smallpox in
the Council's schools appears in vol. III (part II) of this report.
During the year one ship on which smallpox had occurred during the voyage
arrived in the Port of London from Brisbane. When the ship arrived at Port Said
one of the pantry boys was landed, and was later diagnosed as suffering from smallpox.
The vessel called at Marseilles. The lists of London addresses given by passengers
who landed in order to proceed overland was received from the Ministry of Health
and circulated to the medical officers of health of the metropolitan boroughs. On
arrival of the vessel in the Port of London all precautionary measures were taken
by the port medical officer, including the notification to the medical officers of health
concerned of the names and addresses of passengers and crew. No secondary cases
were reported.
Passengers from two other ships on which smallpox had occurred arrived in
London. Their names and addresses were forwarded to the medical officers of health
In the City of London and the borough of Poplar, orders, made under the provisions
of section 55 of the Public Health (London) Act, 1891, making chickenpox
notifiable, were extended for a period of one year. At the end of the year this disease
was notifiable in Paddington, Hammersmith, Chelsea, Islington, City of London,
Poplar. Deptford and the Port of London.
During the year 137 notifications of cerebrospinal fever were received, but in 13
of these the diagnosis was not confirmed. Of the 124 cases confirmed, 62 proved
fatal. In addition, 15 deaths were recorded by the Registrar-General of cases which
had not been notified, and one of a case which was notified in 1933, thus making a
total of 78 deaths.
The notifications of acute encephalitis lethargica numbered 29. In 5 of these
the diagnosis was not confirmed; of the 24 actual cases, 6 proved fatal. In addition
27 deaths were recorded by the Registrar-General of cases which had not been
notified, and 3 which had been notified in previous years, making a total of 36 deaths
for the year.
Particulars of cases admitted to the post-encephalitis lethargica unit at the
Council's Northern hospital are given in vol. IV (part I) of this report.
Cases which had not been notified during the acute stage are still being brought
to light by applications which are made for hospital treatment of patients suffering
from the after effects of encephalitis lethargica.
All cases of post-encephalitis lethargica, not under treatment at the Northern
hospital, are "followed" up for medical reports over a number of years; during the
year 85 cases were "followed up" through the co-operation of the borough medical