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

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Kingston upon Thames 1897

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

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The injection of the Anti-toxin has no effect on
persons not suffering from Diphtheria, so that there
is no reason for delay.

The percentage mortality of cases treated on different days of the illness, before the introduction of Anti-toxin and since, is shown in the table:—

1st day.2nd day.3rd day.4th day.5th and later.
Without Anti-toxin22.52729.431.630.8
With Anti-toxin4.712.817.722.524.6

It will therefore be clearly seen that although
the results with Anti-toxin are always more favourable,
still it is the results of its use on the first day
of the disease that show the most marked difference.
The effect of the treatment is also most marked
in the case of young children, amongst whom the
disease is most fatal.
Again, 250 severe cases were treated with
Anti-toxin and six died, whilst in 212 mild cases
where the throat symptoms were very slight, though
the bacillus was demonstrated by culture, there were
seven deaths, Anti-toxin not being considered
necessary. The use of Anti-toxin in short deprives
this disease of all its terrors and brings it down to a
level with those diseases which too many parents
treat at home without seeking medical advice. A
proceeding which accounts for a large proportion of
the infectious disease in our midst.
By the arrangements you have made every
notification of Diphtheria can be verified by culture
of the bacillus at the British Institute of Preventive
Medicine, without expense to either the patient or
the medical attendant. This is a step in the right
direction on which I congratulate you heartily, but
in order to get this disease thoroughly under control
we must secure early treatment and isolation.
Many of the homes (?) of the poor are quite unsuited