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

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Stepney 1922

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Stepney]

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etc., advocating people to "kill the flies" and do away with accumulations of
manure and rubbish which are their breeding grounds.

Table showing the number of deaths of infants under one year of age from diarrhoea, and the period of the year, etc., for the years 1913-1922:—

Year.1st qtr.2nd qtr.3rd qtr.Oct. & Nov.Dec.Total under 1.Percentage of deaths occurring from 'July 1st to end of November, per cent.Deaths from Diarrhoea over 1 and under 2 years of age.
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There are two striking facts in connection with the deaths from
Diarrhœa, in 1922. The first is the exceptionally small number of deaths.
The second is the small proportion of deaths from diarrhoea from the
beginning of July to the end of November. Forty-six per cent. of the deaths
certified as Epidemic Diarrhoea of infants did not occur during the period
usually associated with Epidemic Diarrhœa. In fact, more than 20 per cent,
occurred during the four coldest months of the year. If the summer and
autumn months are only included, the death rate from "Summer" Diarrhoea
would be found to be exceptionally low during 1922.
In view of the foregoing table, the term "Summer Diarrhœa," appears
to be misleading. A large percentage of deaths occurred during the colder
months when the obvious causes were infection through the food.
Though a baby's heat-regulating mechanism cannot adjust itself quickly
to changes of temperature, yet that fact does not play a large part in
infantile mortality. The chief cause is infection, and at whatever season
of the year the infection occurs, the mortality is high. Naturally, hot weather
favours the development of the germs, but as infantile diarrhœa is not
confined to the Summer months alone, " Epidemic diarrhoea "would appear
to be a more useful and exact description.

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