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

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Acton 1896

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Acton]

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The Whooping Cough itself is rarely fatal. It is the
complications that kill, and they are very numerous. The remedy
is, as I have remarked under Measles, to enlighten the public.
One of the first lessons must be that Whooping Cough is not
a necessary disease of childhood, that children are not doomed by
any laws of Providence to either Measles, Scarlet Fever, or
Whooping Cough, and that children suffering should be isolated
and properly cared for. If it were possible on the same day to
isolate all the children suffering from this disease, and to keep
them in quarantine for a lengthened period, Whooping Cough
might be stamped out. This is impracticable. We may, however,
do much to check and limit it, but without the intelligent
assistance of the public we are powerless.
Fourteen cases were notified, and only two deaths were
registered, one in Acton and one in Bedford Park. Defective
drainage was found and rectified.
Thirty-seven deaths, all except two being children under five
years of age. This is a disease greatly influenced by temperature.
It is noticeable that soon after the temperature of the earth, at a depth
of one foot, has reached 590 F to 62° F, the causes producing the
disease begin to operate. Nearly all the above deaths took place
during the summer months.
Three cases only were notified, and not a single death
Yet there were no less than 894 confinements attended
during the year. This happy result is due to the Medical
Practitioners using strict antiseptic precautions.

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