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

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Romford 1913

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Romford RDC]

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Measles.—A very large number of cases of this disease occurred, pretty nearly all over the district; 602 cases, in the following parishes :

Upminster, etc.166
Great Warley2
Rainham, etc.100
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Although this disease has been made a notifiable one, I cannot
flatter myself that this precaution of the Council, adopted on my advice,
has had the desired effect of checking the progress of this disease when
once established. School attendance is undoubtedly the principal
source of infection, and although advice was given to authorities of
schools not to admit children suspected of showing symptoms of an
impending attack of Measles, these symptoms being explained to them,
and although the Council went to the expense of distributing pamphlets
to all parents who had school-attending children, explaining the signs
of the onset of Measles and cautioning them not to send such children
to school until satisfied by their doctor (or by me, who undertook to
visit all suspicious cases when a doctor was not called in), none of
these steps seemed to have much influence in checking the disease until
the schools affected were closed. This closure of schools was effected
in various localities, after conference with the School Medical Officer.
In any future threatened outbreak of this disease, I think it will be a
matter of consideration whether the particular school affected should
not be closed at an earlier period of a threatened outbreak, should the
ordinary proceeding recommended by the Education Board not prove
to be successful. Fortunately the mortality was low—only five deaths
resulting from this disease, a result probably due to the comparatively
mild weather during which the epidemic prevailed, thus preventing the
occurrence of Bronchitis and Pneumonia, which are the most potent
factors in causing death from Measles. Possibly the distribution by
the Council of leaflets (as before mentioned) giving instructions as to
the management of cases of Measles in children whose parents (of
whom they are many) consider Measles too trivial a disease to require
the calling in of medical aid, may have contributed to the low mortality.
On the notification of a case of Measles occurring in a family where
there were children attending school, a printed notice is sent to the
school authority advising the exclusion of any member of the family
from school for a fortnight following the outbreak of the disease.
Whooping Cough (not a notifiable disease) prevailed to a considerable
extent in various parts of the district and caused six deaths.

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