Hints from the Health Department. Leaflet from the archive of the Society of Medical Officers of Health. Credit: Wellcome Collection, London
[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Hackney]
measles, scarlet fever, hooping cough, diptheria, diarrhoea, fever,
erysipelas, and some other similar affections. The deaths from
these causes were 358 in number; or, 21 9 per cent. of the whole.
The next most fatal class of diseases was those of the lungs and
organs of respiration (excluding consumption), as no less than 263
deaths were registered from these causes. Consumption is excluded,
because it is a constitutional disease, and belongs to the
tubercular class, which caused a mortality equal to 14.7 per cent.
of the whole. Diseases of the brain were next in order of fatality,
as 203 deaths were registered under this class; or, 12.4 per cent.
Under the heading of "old age" we have 115 deaths; or, 7.1 per
cent. From the above we perceive that 65.4 per cent. of the total
number of deaths in this District, during last year, were caused by
four groups of diseases; whilst, in 1857, 66.1 per cent. were recorded
from the same diseases. Diseases of the stomach, liver,
&c., caused a mortality of only 5.6 per cent.; of the heart, of 4.5
per cent.; from premature birth and debility, 4.2; whilst 2.4 per
cent. were caused by accident or suicide.
The deaths from the severe chief epidemic diseases were unusually
large during the past year—scarlatina and diptheria having
prevailed to a most unusual extent. I would observe here, in
connection with scarlet fever, that the most effectual means for
preventing the spread of the disease in a family, where it has
broken out, is to separate the persons who are afflicted with it
from the rest of the family; to prevent any one entering the room,
except for absolutely necessary purposes; to prohibit the female
attendants wearing woollen dresses; and to place the patient in the
top room of the house, which must be kept well ventilated. The same
observations apply, though in a very far less degree, to diptheria,
which appears to be more a local (endemic) than a contagious disease.
1858—Mortality from Epidemic Diseases.
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