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

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Acton 1939

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Acton]

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Dr. Thomas, the Medical Superintendent, has furnished the
following report—
The total number of patients admitted to the hospital in the
year ending December 31st, 1939, was 333, compared with 633 in
1938 and 610 in the four years 1934-1938.
This great reduction was most noticeable in the last four
months of the year, that is since the beginning of the War.
There had been a reduction in the admissions even in the
earlier months of the year, but this was almost predictable and due
to the ordinary epidemiological influences.
In the first eight months of the year there had been 283
admissions compared with 438 in the same period of 1938.
In the last four months, only 50 cases were admitted compared
with 195 in 1938 and an average of 217 in the four years
The vast majority of cases admitted to the hospital are those
suffering from Scarlet Fever, Diphtheria and Measles.
In the western suburbs of London for nearly a quarter of a
century. Measles has occurred in alternate years. An epidemic
usually commenced in the late autumn of the even years, but
reached its apex in the early months of the odd years. Therefore
we did not expect many cases in 1939 as it was not an epidemic
year. (Contrary to the experience of the last quarter of a century
an epidemic did not commence in the later months of 1939, and
very few cases were admitted in the spring of 1940).
Scarlet Fever.
222 cases of Scarlet Fever were admitted and there was no
death. Of these, four were not Scarlet Fever, two each from Acton
and Wembley.
There were 15 cases admitted from houses where a patient
had been discharged from the hospital less than a month previously.
These were caused by 8 infecting cases. There were 4 cases in one
house, 2 each in four houses. Of the 15 cases, 13 were from Wembley
and 2 from Acton.
75 cases of Diphtheria were admitted, 8 from Acton and 67
from Wembley. There were 4 deaths. 23 of these cases were
probably wrongly diagnosed before admission. At any rate, there
were no clinical signs of Diphtheria on admission and all the swabs
were negative after admission. 4 of these were from Acton and 19
from Wembley.
Medical Superintendent.