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

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Hillingdon 1971

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Hillingdon]

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Discussions have taken place between the staff of this department and the local Consultant
Venereologist. There is no welfare officer at local clinics but it has been agreed that a senior
nursing officer should be the appropriate point of contact in this area.

The following are the returns made to this department in respect of residents of the Borough by physicians in charge of centres for the treatment of venereal disease in the Greater London area:

Totals all Venereal ConditionsSyphilisGonorrhoeaOther Genital InfectionsOther Conditions
Primary and SecondaryOther
Central Middlesex31141016
St. Bartholomew's10145
St. Thomas'1165
Whitechapel Clinic14392
Totals: 19711,37129124813423
match: ALTO ComposedBlock
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There was a sharp rise in the number of notified cases of whooping cough (pertussis) during
1971. The 135 notifications represent a notification rate for the Borough of 56 per 100,000
compared with a rate of just over 20/100,000 last year and a national rate of 34/100,000. In two
neighbouring authorities, the rates are 22 and 10/100,000.
How much the increase in notifications in Hillingdon represents a true increase in actual
cases of whooping cough as distinct from cases of paroxysmal cough is not clear. Since 1969
this department along with a number of other health departments throughout the country has
been co-operating with the Public Health Laboratory Service in carrying out a survey into the
efficacy of the whooping cough vaccines at present in use. The surveillance is based on the attack
rates of immunised children in home contact with a notified case of pertussis. As bacteriological
confirmation is essential, a health visitor visits each notified case and takes a pernasal swab from
the case and any contacts who subsequently develop symptoms will also be similarly swabbed.
On occasions throughout the year, the department's weekly bulletin to family doctors has
included a reminder of the need for prompt notification of all whooping cough cases in an attempt
to increase the chance of isolating the organism and bearing in mind how difficult clinically it can
be to diagnose whooping cough from other, particularly viral, causes of paroxysmal cough, it is
possible that general practitioners in their desire to co-operate, notify "suspected" cases which
have helped to boost the returns for 1971. Of 268 children from whom pernasal-swabs were

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