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

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Kensington 1927

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Kensington]

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14
DISINFECTION.
Bedding, clothing, etc., are disinfected at the Council's Disinfecting Station at Wood Lane byexposure
to steam under a pressure varying between 15 and 20 lbs. above atmospheric
pressure for fifteen minutes. Soiled linen is disinfected by boiling under a pressure of 10 lbs. above
atmospheric pressure for ten minutes in a rotary washing machine. A formalin cupboard is used
for the disinfection by formalin of leather, furs and other articles which cannot be exposed to high
temperatures.
Rooms vacated by persons suffering from infectious disease are disinfected by gaseous
formaldehyde, which is generated by the volatilisation of paraform tablets, 20 tablets being used
for each 1,000 cubic feet of room space. Verminous rooms are disinfected by the burning of 3 lbs.
of sulphur for each 1,000 cubic feet.

* SUMMARY OF WORK CARRIED OUT BY THE DISINFECTING STAFF DURING 1927.

Nature of Infection.Premises Disinfected.Rooms Disinfected.Disinfections at Wood Lane.No. of Articles Disinfected.
Scarlet Fever2573642764,593
Diphtheria3744943555,440
Enteric Fever91570467
Measles3351229
Consumption1181511621,558
Cancer607696941
Vermin1362061121,023
Other Diseases2733692732,183
Totals1,2601,7261,34616,234
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* This table does not include the work carried out at Wood Lane on behalf of the
Paddington Borough Council.
The total weight of the bedding, clothing, &c.. of Kensington residents disinfected was 40 tons,
15 cwts., 2 qrs. and 12 lbs. The number of articles disinfected only was 15,729 and the number
disinfected and washed, 505.
The laundry work for the Medicinal Baths is performed at the Disinfecting Station and this
work involved in 1927 the washing of 10,6(56 towels, 405 sheets and 36 other articles.
The Paddington Authority have entered into an agreement with the Council for the disinfection
of all articles removed from Paddington homes to be performed at the Kensington Disinfecting
Station. As the Paddington Council require certain of the articles to be washed after disinfection,
the charge was fixed at 20s. Od. per cwt. of articles dealt with, but there is a proviso in the agreement
that the minimum payment per annum is to be £600.
The weight of Paddington articles disinfected in 1927 was 25 tons 14 cwts. 2 qrs. 5 lbs. The
number of articles disinfected was 6,248 and the number disinfected and washed was 3,713.
The Paddington Authority are responsible for the collection of the articles and removal to the
Council's Wood Lane Station, and for the subsequent return of these articles to the homes in
Paddington, the Kensington Authority merely carrying out the disinfection at the Station.
DISINFECTION OF LIBRARY BOOKS.
In view of the difficulty of securing efficient disinfection of books, the Libraries Committee
authorise the Medical Officer of Health to destroy all Public Library volumes removed from
infected houses; this gives Kensington borrowers protection from infection from the Council's
books.
The number of books from the Kensington Public Libraries destroyed during the year by the
officers of the Public Health Department was 54. The number of private subscribing library books
destroyed was 18; and the number disinfected by formalin and returned to the householders was 14.
BACTERIOLOGICAL WORK.

During 1927 the Council had an arrangement with the Lister Institute of Preventive Medicine, Chelsea Gardens, S.W.I, for the bacteriological examination, at the expense of the Council, of specimens from Kensington cases sent to them by medical practitioners in regard to diphtheria, tuberculosis, typhoid fever, syphilis and other diseases. The examinations in 1927 were as follow :—

Disease suspected.No. of examinations.No. of positive results.
Diphtheria1688196
Diphtheria (Virulence Tests)167
Tuberculosis21827
Typhoid Fever (Widal)71
(Faeces)101
Gonorrhoea41
Syphilis42
Dysentery (Water)3
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