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

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Surbiton 1910

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Surbiton]

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The pneumonic form of plague is directly infectious
from patient to patient, the expectoration
when the patient coughs containing plague bacilli.
Plague for administrative purposes may be
regarded as a disease of rats, and it has been conclusively
established that fleas form the intermediary
between rats and man."
On receipt of this Order I issued on November
28th a circular letter to all occupiers of farms,
shops dealing in food of all sorts for humans,
dairies, all licensed houses, all dealers in
forage, etc., asking their views on certain points,
and asking for information as to evidence of rat
sickness or mortality, with the object of being in
a position to advise my sanitary authority as to
what steps, if any, should be taken to deal with
any threatened outbreak.
I had a fair number of replies, and from those
and from enquiries made by the Inspector of
Nuisances and from my own personal knowledge
and observation, I was satisfied that there was no
evidence of any infected rats in the immediate
neighbourhood. It is important, however, to
remember that the Plague is dormant and not
eradicated as yet, therefore any information bearing
on the subject in this district at any time from
anyone in a position to impart it should be sent to
me direct.

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