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

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City of London 1957

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Port of London]

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very High temperature, 104/105°, removed him to Denton Hospital as a suspected case of Malaria,
a diagnosis which was subsequently confirmed, following blood and urine tests, by your Consultant
Physician, Dr. W.T.G. Boul.
The patient rapidly improved following a course of anti-malarial therapy but since it was
obvious that the patient would require a fairly long convalescence as soon as he was fit to travel,
arrangements were made for his removal to the Norwegian Hospital in London.
Dr. H. Willoughby, Deputy Medical Officer and Medical Officer in Charge at Denton Hospital,
submitted the following interesting observations:—
"It is noteworthy that British ships travelling regularly to and from West Africa take antimalarial
prophylactic measures with their crews, but the casual caller does not — especially
the foreigner.
"This has been accentuated by the closure of the Suez Canal with the need for refuelling
at Dakar by ships coming via the Cape who do not normally call there.
"The present case is a relapse of an infection acquired on his previous voyage and
although we all have malaria uppermost in our minds at the present time, cases of jaundice
with very high fever present a perplexing picture."
The larvicidal control of mosquitos breeding within the perimeter of the B.P. Refinery at the
Isle of Grain was continued throughout the breeding season of 1957.
As in previous years the operation was directed by the Refinery Medical Officer and the field
work was carried out by an employee of the Oil Company.
Control was effected by treating all waters found to harbour mosquito larvae with a Dieldrin
larvicide and, as in 1956, a considerable degree of success was achieved.
The area under control was somewhat larger than the previous year due to the expansion of the
refinery and the increased labour force engaged which provided more "blood meals" for the
female mosquito. In spite of these added difficulties the operation succeeded in maintaining a
measure of control comparable with 1956.
Mr. P.G. Shute, Deputy Controller of the Malaria Reference Laboratory, visited the area while
the campaign was in progress and expressed his approval of the manner in which the operation
was being conducted.
On one occasion during April anopheline larvae were found in an isolated ditch. This infestation
was dealt with as a matter of routine and no further anopheline specimens, larvae or adult,
were met throughout the rest of the year.
Though Mr. Traynier, the Port Health Inspector in this area, continued to be actively associated
with the control measures, he was not obliged to devote so much time to them as in 1956.
Mention must, however, be made of the interest and enthusiasm shown by the Refinery operator
appointed to this work, who, apart from the field work, kept comprehensive records of his activities
and carried out larval and adult insect identification.
SECTION XI. — Measures taken against ships infected or suspected of Plague
The Fourth Schedule to the Public Health (Ships) Regulations, 1952, under the heading "Additional
measures in respect to the quarantinable diseases" — Part I — Plague, reads as follows:—
"(1) The Medical Officer may —
(a) require any suspect on board to be disinsected and place him under surveillance, the
period of surveillance being reckoned from the date of arrival of the ship ;
(b) require the disinsecting and, if necessary, disinfection of the baggage of any infected
person or suspect, and of any other article on board and any part of the ship which the
medical officer considers to be contaminated.
(2) If there is rodent plague on board, the medical officer shall require the ship to be deratted
in a manner to be determined by him, but without prejudice to the generality of this requirement
the following special provisions shall apply to any such deratting—
(a) the deratting shall be carried out as soon as the holds have been emptied;
(b) one or more preliminary derattings of the ship with the cargo in situ, or during its unloading,
may be carried out to prevent the escape of infected rodents ;
(c) if the complete destruction of rodents cannot be secured because only part of the cargo is
due to be unloaded, a ship shall not be prevented from unloading that part, but the medical
officer may apply any measure which he considers necessary to prevent the escape of
infected rodents."

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