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

View report page

Ealing 1966

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Ealing]

This page requires JavaScript

Details of the incidence of the various notifiable infectious diseases and the
action taken during the year to prevent their spread are as follows:
No cases were notified during the year.
No cases were notified during the year.
No cases were notified during the year.
This disease is usually spread by reason of faulty personal hygiene. During
the year, 296 cases were notified. A number of these occurred as part of small local
Towards the end of April, a notification was received from the Westminster
City Council that a child attending an Ealing day nursery had been admitted to
hospital with a diagnosis of Sonne dysentery. The 15 members of the staff and the
remaining 44 children who attended the nursery were asked to submit faecal specimens.
From these, a further eight children were found to be positive for this infection and
were referred to their own doctors for treatment and allowed to return to the nursery
only after three negative specimens had been received from each.
In July, a notification of dysentery was received from a general practitioner
of a two-year-old boy who attended another Ealing day nursery. Here again, faecal
specimens were taken from the staff and remaining children, and another 14 cases,
including a member of the staff, were discovered. After treatment by their doctors
and the submission of three negative specimens all were allowed to return to the
nursery. One resistant case required treatment in hospital before the stools became
At the end of September, the head teacher of a local school reported that
a number of children were absent with symptoms of diarrhoea. Preliminary
investigations by means of specimens showed that two of the children were suffering
from Sonne dysentery. In view of this, a further 66 specimens were taken from the
classes which contained the positive cases and a further 6 affected children were
found. As the incidence of this mild but troublesome infection did not quickly abate
it was decided to put into operation a regime of hand washing and disinfection of
toilets and wash-basins. Each classroom was supplied with a plastic bowl and the
children were made to rinse their hands in mild antiseptic three times during the
school day and after any visit to the toilet. The school caretaker was instructed
to swab regularly with disinfectant all lavatory seats, chains, door handles and
wash-basin taps. It is considered that this routine, which has been used successfully
elsewhere assisted materially in bringing the outbreak to a close.
Nine cases were notified.