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

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City of London 1852

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for London, City of ]

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of my office that I should say something with respect
to personal precautions for avoidance of the disease.
While most willing to place at your disposal any
useful results of my practical experience in the
matter, I cannot but feel the great difficulty of
making general suggestions in a form really capable
of particular application.
From the eminently local prevalence of the
poison, it may be inferred that, for all whose circumstances
allow an option in the matter, the first and
most important precaution would consist in avoiding
those localities where the epidemic is active. Our
knowledge of the subject enables us confidently to
say that, if in one spot the chance of being attacked
by Cholera is as 1 to 100, in another it becomes
1 to 50, in a third 1 to 5, in a fourth almost an equal
chance whether to be attacked or not. Nothing is
gained towards security by the mere act of leaving
our metropolitan area, if one resorts to some other
place where the system of drainage is equally
vicious, or where—as at our nearest bathing-place,
the beach is made almost as offensive by sewage as
here the river-banks. From earlier statements in
my Report, it will be obvious to you that the
eligible sites of residence are those which stand
high and dry, with clean effectual drainage of their
soils and houses, conveying all organic refuse beyond
range of the local atmosphere.
I will not pass this part of the subject without
admitting that the course here suggested might