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

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Walthamstow 1904

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Walthamstow]

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returns of the concreting of sites is in no way accurate, as it was
impossible to get at the actual fact without further measures.
Of the duration of illness, 53 of the children were ill for less than a
week and 42 under 14 days.
The drinking water was directly from the main in 68 houses, and
from the cistern in 85, and the flushing arrangements were defective in
22 instances. There was no overcrowding found.
In my 1898 Annual Report, I went fully into the diarrhceal mortality
of infants, and as far as I could, explained the chief causes in its
production in the district, in order that an improvement might be
The conclusions then come to were similar to those as expressed by
the most competent authorities, and that whatever the cause, Infantile
Diarrhoea is always associated with excessive heat and want of breastmilk.
I then came to the conclusion (excluding excessive seasonal heat)
that soil and locality had very little influence in this district, that there
was no overcrowding, and that the social position of the parents and
their environment, conjoined to feeding, were the main causes of
In that year 87 per cent. of the deaths occurred in hand-fed children,
and the enquiries of 1904 show similar results, only 12½ per cent. of the
deaths investigated being in breast-fed children, in the remaining other
foods were used.
The following table shows at a glance how we arrived at these

Deaths of Children and How Fed.

Breast.Partial Breast.Cows' Milk.Condsd. Milk.
St. James Street041512
High Street6383
Hoe Street2185
Wood Street32108
Death-rate per cent.12½10.449.28
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