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

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Heston and Isleworth 1914

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Heston and Isleworth]

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still-births, will be avoided when systematic measures are
taken for the recognition and treatment of Syphilis in
expectant mothers. Inherited Syphilis in later years may
cause blindness, deafness, and various bone, skin, and
visceral lesions in the infected child
In his report, Dr. Johnstone emphasises the practical
point that Syphilis is spread less by habitual or professional
prostitutes, than by women who are only occasional prostitutes
and by men 'who have neglected to secure competent advice
or to observe it when given.' Hence it is impracticable
to attempt to repress this disease by restrictive measures of
the type of the former Contagious Diseases Acts. We must
look to other means of control applicable with a fair degree
of equality to all concerned, of both sexes. The possibility
of securing these has been greatly increased by the discovery
of the causal micro-organism, the elaboration of the
Wassermann test for presence of the disease, and the use of
salvarsan for the rapid removal of infectivity by removing
the symptoms of the disease.
In view of the invaluable aid in the prompt recognition
and treatment of Syphilis at all its stages rendered available
by these means, it is of primary importance, in the public
interest, that facilities for gratuitous Wassermann and allied
tests should be made available throughout England and
The number of deaths registered in the district was 864, but
385 of these did not belong to this district, while 65 residents
died without the district. Thus the actual number of deaths
properly attributable to the district was 544, which gives the
death-rate for the district of 11.43 per 1,000 of the population.
The death-rate for the district, when corrected for the age
and sex constitution of the population, is 10 75 per 1,000, and this
is comparable with the following figures: 13.7 for England and Wales