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

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City of London 1967

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

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Cases landed from river craft.
Disease Passengers Crew No .of ships concerned
Food poisoning (or suspected) — 4 1
SECTION X
OBSERVATIONS ON THE OCCURRENCE OF MALARIA ON SHIPS
Three cases of Malaria were reported in seamen admitted to hospital after the arrival of their
ships during the year under review. No cases occurred in 1966.
SECTION XI
MEASURES TAKEN AGAINST SHIPS INFECTED OR SUSPECTED OF PLAGUE
No ships infected with or suspected of plague arrived during the year.
SECTION XII
MEASURES AGAINST RODENTS IN SHIPS FROM FOREIGN PORTS
(i) Procedure for inspection of ships for rats.
The Port Health Authority employs an experienced and competent team of seventeen Rodent
Inspectors, who exercise control measures on all ships and shore premises within the Port area
under the supervision of the Port Health Inspectors.
The Rodent Inspector's first duty is to visit all ships arriving in his district as soon as
possible after arrival and search for evidence of rodents. Priority is given to ships which have
arrived from plague endemic areas. Further visits to these ships are made during the discharge
of cargo to ascertain the degree of infestation on board, if any, and to ensure that reasonable
measures are adopted to reduce the number of rodents on board to a negligible number and prevent
any rodents escaping ashore.
His second duty is the inspection of ships in his area for the specific purpose of issuing
Deratting or Deratting Exemption Certificates or Rodent Control Certificates.
The Rodent Inspector's third duty is the inspection of shore premises and lighters for signs
of rodent infestation.
The Port Health Authority has continued to operate a Rodent Control Scheme, inaugurated
twenty six years ago, covering all the docks and including all the premises of the Port of London
Authority on behalf of that Authority and premises of tenants of the Authority on behalf of the
occupiers.
(ii) Arrangements for the bacteriological examination of rodents, with special reference to rodent
plague, including the number of rodents sent for examination during the year.
All dead rats to be examined for evidence of plague, are promptly despatched in suitable
sealed containers to the Central Public Health Laboratory at Colindale.
The robust rectangular metal boxes which have been used for a number of years to deliver
such specimens have been replaced by a cylindrical pattern made of aluminium, with a scew cap.
Specimen rats are placed in polythene bags already dusted with gammaxene to kill any parasites,
labelled and placed inside the cylinder for delivery by hand. During the year 53 rats were
sent to the laboratory at Colindale and were examined for plague with negative results.
(iii) Arrangements in the district for deratting ships, the methods used, and if done by a commercial
contractor, the name of the contractor.
(a) The burning of sulphur at the rate of 31bs. per 1,000 cubic feet of space for a minimum
period of 6 hours. This method is seldom used now in the Port of London.
(b) The generation of hydrocyanic acid gas by various methods. For the destruction of rats
a minimum concentration of H.C.N, at the rate of 2 ozs. per 1,000 cubic feet of space is
required with a minimum of two hours exposure.
(c) Sodium-fluoroacetate ("1080") and "Warfarin". The employment of "1080" as a rodenticide
has been regularly used throughout the docks for some time with highly satisfactory
results. The prohibition on the use of "1080" and "1081" except in ships and sewers,
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