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

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Stepney 1961

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Stepney]

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Weather Conditions.
January was mainly wet but sunny and had sleet or snow on four days.
February was wet but the mildest February since records began in 1871.
March was dry and sunny and also the mildest for many years.
April had less sunshine than average, hay was very dry and rather
sunny, as also was June. A temperature of 92°F. recorded in London
on July 1, 1961, equalled the record high of July 1947. August was
rather wet and dull but September warm. October was sunny and rather
mild and November was very sunny. December was cold and wet and 1961
went out with three-inches of snow falling in central London, the
heaviest since 1947.
The year was not a fine one but the winter was mild.
The number of notified cases of infectious diseases (corrected for
revised diagnosis and duplicate notifications) during the year was 2,434;
the number last year was 835, the lowest ever recorded.
Table 17 on page 68 shows cases notified, together with comparative
figures over the last ten years. A list of diseases notifiable in the
County of London is shown in Table 20, on page 70.
Glanders and Hydrophobia were this year removed from the list of
notifiable diseases.
The number of deaths from cancer during the year was 236 (23 more
than last year). Deaths from lung cancer numbered 79, which is 26 more
than in 1960.
The comparative vital statistics for the Metropolitan Borough of
Stepney show a rate, per 1,000 population, of 2.8 in respect of deaths
from Tuberculosis (all forms) in 1901. Thereafter a consistent fall
occurs over the years to a rate of 0.1 in 1961. For deaths attributable
to Cancer, the equivalent rates are 0.7 in 1901 with a progressive
increase to an average of 2.4 por 1,000 population in the last three
years. This is partly due to the greater numbers in the population
reaching old age (concomitant with the increase in life expectancy over
the last 60 years) and so becoming "at risk" to cancerous diseases whose
incidence is, generally speaking, greater with age. However, whereas
the largest rate of deaths from cancer, in the male, used to be in
respect of the gastro-intestinal tract, the cancer of lung and bronchus
rate now forms the greatest percentage, that is, nearly one-third of all
such deaths. For the female, deaths from cancer of the breast and
genital organs still provide the bulk of deaths attributable to cancer;