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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Scarlet Fever has been usually looked on as most dangerous in lyingin
women, and to prevent the possibility of such, 2 beds are usually
reserved at the Sanatorium. My own experience is that the infection
of Scarlet Fever is no more potent or more dangerous at this time than
at others, and apart from the ordinary sepsis of broken surfaces, the
great danger to lying-in women is the infection of Erysipelas.
Ninety-six deaths from this disease were registered during the year
as compared with 98 in 1903, 87 in 1902, and 86 in 1901.
Including Tuberculosis of Meninges, 22, and "Other Forms of
Tuberculosis," 27, the deaths due to this preventable disease were 144.
These deaths represent a rate of 13 nearly or one-ninth of the total

The ages at which deaths from Consumption took place were as follows:

1-5 years.5-1515-2525-6565 and upwards.
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Judged by the length of illness associated with Consumption and its
fatality in the most useful time of man's life, the loss to the community
must be very great, and in last year's report I suggested that some
further action would be taken by your Authority.
At present the only measure adopted is the disinfection of rooms
where a consumptive has died, no doubt very good in itself, but too
much like locking the stable door when the steed is stolen. Some
further action is needful, and every local practitioner should be notified,
that the expenses of a bacteriological diagnosis by Dr. Thresh would
be paid, to be followed by voluntary notification and the payment of
the payment of the usual fee as under the Act of 1889.
Some supervision would then be exercised over the sufferers in their
most infective stage and advice as to precaution tendered.
That this duty would be cautiously undertaken, and with the cooperation
of the medical attendants, might be left to your officials.
The expenses in this connection would be inconsiderable, and some
good results would be sure to follow.

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