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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there is also a definite trend towards an increase from deaths due to
cancer of the lung and bronchus (shown better in the national figures).
Many of the male deaths occur in the age group 45-65 years and so
are a personal and economic loss to the community. It is relevant to
ask what causative factors can be traced to account for this rapid
increase in cancer of the lung. To date the evidence points to the
increased indulgence in tobacco smoking, and particularly of cigarettes.
A further factor, namely that of atmospheric pollution, is obvious from
comparative studies between urban and rural populations.
Atmospheric pollution is beginning to be reduced by use of the
powers in the Clean Air Act - i.e. at a community level. Smoking lies
in the domain of personal choice and responsibility which presents a
more complex problem of persuasion by health education and publicity.
On the present evidence, the public should know that if they do not
stop excessive smoking (particularly of cigarettes) they run a greatly
increased risk of premature death from carcinoma of bronchus (lung).
At the time of compilation of this report, this message has been
reinforced by the publication of a report from the Royal College of
Physicians (London) on the dangers of smoking.
One notification of Diphtheria was received during the year, but
was not confirmed.

The number of Stepney children immunised at London County Council clinics during the last five years, was as follows :-

Completed primary course-
Children under 5 years14241302133011061147
" 5 to 15 years489437318420415
Children given a secondary injection2858138994013721437
match: ALTO ComposedBlock
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Although only 7 cases of Diphtheria have been notified in the
Borough during the last twelve years, the necessity for immunisation is
as pressing as ever.
Fifty-eight swabs were forwarded by general practitioners to the
Mile End Group Laboratory, where bacteriological examinations are carried
out on behalf of the Borough Council.
There was a decrease in the incidence of Sonne Dysentery, cases
being notified compared with 140 cases last year.

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