Hints from the Health Department. Leaflet from the archive of the Society of Medical Officers of Health. Credit: Wellcome Collection, London
[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for East Ham]
(b) Notices.—The number of notices served during the year
totalled 5,219, of which 909 were statutory notices. The
number of notices complied within the same period was
Complaints made to the Department with regard to
sanitary circumstances, disrepair, infestations, obstructed
drains, etc., totalled 8,519.
(c) Rat Extermination.—During the year some 294 complaints
were received of the presence of rats and mice, for which
the rodent operator made 3,516 visits to premises affected.
Notwithstanding the Council's systematic maintenance
treatment, the sewer rat showed considerable activity
towards the end of the year. In almost every instance the
source of rat infestation was found to be due to defective
drains. In addition to those destroyed at the Council's
Sewage and Refuse Disposal Works and in the maintenance
treatment of the public sewers, it is estimated that some
1,674 rats were caught or poisoned.
Infestations of mice in private dwelling houses present
their own peculiar problems, both in time and treatment.
Particularly is this so when the active co-operation of the
occupier is not readily forthcoming. The necessity for
protecting all foodstuffs against the ravages of these vermin
is often not appreciated. Furthermore, the presence of
children and pets in the household restrict and determine
the type of treatment to be employed.
(d) Disinfection and Disinfestation.—Disinfection of rooms and
their contents was carried out to 420 premises and 445
library books were disinfected. The steam disinfector was
in operation on 131 days during the year.
The use of smoke or spray D.D.T. insecticide was
satisfactorily and successfully employed in the disinfestation
of 103 verminous premises. This method of disinfesting has
not only simplified treatment but effected considerable
saving in time and labour. In addition the Department has
been called upon to deal with nuisances arising from ants,
beetles, fleas, flies, cockroaches, etc.