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

View report page

Kingston upon Thames 1897

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Kingston-upon-Thames]

This page requires JavaScript

There were 30 deaths from this disease, of
which 27 were under five years of age. This gives
a death rate of .9 per 1000, as compared with .32
for the previous four years. These deaths occurred
in the continuation of the epidemic that commenced
at the end of 1896.
The great difficulty in dealing with this disease
is that the first intimation that reaches the Sanitary
Authority is a notice of death, by which time the
epidemic is usually well established, and it is found
necessary to close schools.
On January 14th, St. Peter's Infant School,
Lincoln Road, was ordered to be closed for three
weeks, 74 scholars being absent out of 240. All the
other schools were then visited and it was found
necessary to close St. Peter's Cambridge Road
School (Infants) on January 29th, St. John's
(Infants) on February 6th, and All Saints' (Infants)
on February 27th.
I think it would be highly desirable to adopt a
modified system of notification. The medical men
might be asked whether they would agree to notify
the first case only arising in each household. A
case so notified would give information as to the
family and the school. The family would be at
once excluded and the school inspected. As the
dual notification is enforced by you, so soon as it
became generally known that the head of a family
was under a statutory obligation to notify the
outbreak of the disease, whether he had called in
a doctor or not, you would obtain immediate information
of each case.
It is the congregation of the children in the
schools that causes the rapid rise of the epidemic.
A child attends school with what appears to be a