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

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Hackney 1912

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Hackney]

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the child, destruction of these vermin will improve its general
health and comfort and confer increased resistance to disease.
The public will also benefit. The greater the effort made to
exterminate these pests, the less chance of accidental contamination
in public vehicles.
The particular part, if any, and its extent, played by these
biting insects in the spread of infectious disease is not yet known,
except that it has been experimentally proved that the body louse
is capable of conveying certain diseases; other insects are also
known to be very active in the spread of certain tropical fevers.
These facts open up possibilities that the domestic parasites, bugs,
fleas and lice, of our country may be in their way playing a part,
small or great, in the maintenance and spread of infectious
disease. If this be so, and it is not improbable, every effort to reduce
their number will reduce the amount of infectious disease.
In view of this possibility, I have arranged, in certain cases,
for the spraying of walls, ceilings and floors of rooms, with an
insecticide solution, where there are evidences of vermin.