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

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Acton 1924

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Acton]

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In order to comply with the Regulations of 1924, a complete
investigation was made into all the cases, which had been notified
since the introduction of notification. Cases were removed in which
after notification the diagnosis of tuberculosis is agreed not to be
established, or the patient in due course attains a condition in which
he may be regarded as cured of the disease.
After making the necessary corrections and investigations,
it was found that there were 198 cases of Pulmonary and Nonpulmonary
tuberculosis in the district.
During the year 35 patients suffering from Pulmonary Tuberculosis
were treated at a Sanatorium under the Middlesex CoUnty
Council scheme, and 11 at a hospital. In addition 5 cases of Surgical
Tuberculosis were treated at a Hospital.
Measles.—There were 16 deaths from Measles. This is the
highest number of deaths from Measles in one year since 1917.
In former Annual Reports it has been commented upon that
Measles had become much less virulent. Possibly, this diminished
virulence was partly due to the fact that the disease had for some
years appeared in epidemic form in the summer. It is known that a
summer epidemic of Measles is less fatal than a winter one. Not
only are the lung complications less frequent, but the disease itself
appears to be of a less virulent type. This is probably not a sufficient
explanation. Last year the epidemic was entirely a winter
one, and yet the fatality though higher than that of recent years,
was much lower than formerly when a winter epidemic occurred.
It is too soon to express any general opinion, because, Measles
in former times has assumed degrees of virulence. Towards the
end of last century and the beginning of this, throughout the kingdom
the mortality from Measles became markedly increased. In
the last decade, the mortality has been considerably lower. There
does not seem to be much difference in the type of the disease. The
reduced mortality may be related to another phenomenon, which
is noticeable in our vital statistics.
Comment is frequently made upon the greatly reduced
infantile mortality, but although not so frequently commented
upon, the reduction in the mortality in the age-period 1-5 years is
almost, if not fully so marked.
This is not the place to discuss the general question of the
effect of infant welfare work upon the mortality between the ages of
1 and 5 years. There are or there were two schools of thought.
On the one hand it was contended that the work of infant welfare
was worse than useless, as it tended to perpetuate the weaklings.
Figures have disproved this theory. It is now generally held that
the infant welfare work results, not only in the saving of infant
lives, but in an improved physique in later years. Formerly, when

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