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

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Southall 1957

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Southall]

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One of the ways this follow up has been continued has been by annual visits to the
homes of the participants. These visits have been carried out by health visitors on the
staff of the local health authorities to obtain information about the health of the volunteers.
The visits are also of great value in maintaining the interest which has been shown in the
scheme by the participants.
Another important aspect of the investigation has been the provision of a routine annual
chest X-ray for the participants. This examination has been done by a Medical Research
Council mobile X-ray unit. Appointments are sent to the participants to attend the unit in
the evenings after work.
The first progress report of this investigation was published in 1956. The findings
provided unequivocal evidence of the value of tuberculosis vaccines in the prevention of
tuberculosis in young people for a 4-year period after vaccination. As a result the many
local health authorities who had not previously begun B.C.G. vaccination have been encouraged
to initiate vaccination schemes. The results published in 1956, however, cover
a relatively short period on which to assess the value of a preventive measure for a disease
such as tuberculosis, because the manifestations of this disease are often slow to appear. It
is hoped, therefore, to keep the young people under observation for a further period, and to
continue the close co-operation in the investigation between the local health authorities and
the Medical Research Council.
Research into Incidence of New Tuberculosis in the Adolescent
In previous reports this piece of research has been described, the purpose of it being
to ascertain the amount of tuberculosis occurring during the first years in industry or
office life of young persons. This is now the fifth year of the experiment and up to date no
active cases have been found amongst the school leavers taking part in the investigations in
Mass X-ray
During the year two firms in Southall were visited by the Mobile Mass X-ray Unit,
793 persons were X-rayed, and one case of pulmonary tuberculosis was found. There is
now available at the West Middlesex Hospital a static Mass X-ray Unit, the second to be
introduced in Middlesex, and while primarily intended for the use of hospital patients, there
is an open invitation for any member of the public to attend at any time when the Unit is
working, for a check. This is a most useful undertaking and supplements the work done
during the visits of the Mobile Unit which occur at intervals of from three to four years.
It also saves the need, in most cases, of reference by appointment to the Chest X-ray Clinic
for a large film to be taken and, therefore, must eventually effect quite a considerable financial
It will be seen by the table of causes of death (page 51) that in 1957 113 cases (58 males
and 55 females) died from cancer. See Appendix, Table VI, for an analysis of cancer
deaths since 1934.
Overleaf is set out in tabular form a classification of the cancer deaths according to the
site of the primary growth and in ages.

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