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

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Surbiton 1896

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Surbiton]

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out. The Act is one for dual notification and throws on
the head of the family—independently of the doctor—the
duty of himself notifying, for in the words of the Act "the
head of the family * * shall, as soon as he becomes
aware that the patient is suffering from an infectious
disease to which this Act applies, send notice thereof to
the medical officer of health of the district."
There have been no epidemics this year of any very
special character; nothing more than what may from time
to time be expected to occur amongst a population
containing a large number of susceptible children, at times
aggregated for hours together in schools. During the first
three months of the year Scarlet Fever was prevalent
throughout the whole county, and 20 out of the 27 cases
notified for the year occurred during that time; of these
27 cases 14 in all were removed to the Isolation Hospital.
In one house in Southborough no less than five cases and
one death occurred. These were treated at home. There
is a very general disposition on the part of parents to
appreciate and take advantage of the benefits of removal
of their sick children to the Hospital, not only for the good
of the patient, but as undoubtedly offering the best prospect
of staying the further spread of the disease in the family.
It should be here recorded that though 19 cases of
infectious diseases of all sorts were admitted to the Isolation
Hospital during the year, there were no deaths, and the
Medical Officer, Dr. Ackerley, in his Report alluding to the
Scarlet Fever cases, says " A large number were unusually
severe, more or less serious complications were frequent,
and there is little doubt that under less favourable circumstances,
i.e., if the cases had been treated at their own
homes, the mortality would have been greater." Of the
non-notifiable diseases, Whooping Cough was a good deal