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

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Shoreditch 1931

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Shoreditch]

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The London County Council will take severe cases, or cases in which
home nursing is specially difficult, upon the recommendation of the Medical
Officer of Health. During the year the number of cases removed to the
hospitals of the Council was 226.
In accordance with arrangements made by the Borough Council, the
District Nursing Association paid 345 visits in connection with 22 cases of
In the last report it was explained that no special Nurses were
appointed during the period of measles prevalence in 1930, as they had been
during 1929, for the purpose of co-operation with the London County
Council school nursing service.
During 1931, however, the scheme of control was revised and a temporary
Measles Visitor was appointed at the beginning of December.
This Officer received from the School Nurse the names of children absent
from schools in which the disease was prevalent and who were presumed to
be suffering from measles. The duties of the Measles Visitor were, briefly,
to visit the homes of these children with the object of detecting fresh cases
among members of the family of pre-school age for whom measles is a far
more serious disease than it is for school children, and of advising parents
generally regarding children thought to be suffering.
Particulars of the epidemic which continued for several months after the
end of the year will be given in the next report, but it may be said here that
on this occasion the scheme of control worked well and was the means of
bringing to the notice of the Health Department many cases in which it was
possible to give helpful advice.
Of the 26 schools in the Borough, six were included in the scheme of
control during the last five weeks of the year. As part of the scheme a
leaflet, in the following form, was distributed to the parents of the children
attending these schools: —
MEASLES has appeared in your neighbourhood, and there is a
possibility that the disease may become prevalent.
MEASLES is a highly infectious disease, especially in the early
stages of illness before the rash appears. The early symptoms are
those of a cold, which may be at first slight; there is generally running
at the eyes and nose, sneezing and possibly a dry cough, followed by a
rash about the fourth day after the first appearance of illness.
the child should be put to bed in a well-ventilated room (as far as
possible away from other children) and be kept warm. A doctor should