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

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Walthamstow 1909

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Walthamstow]

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Of the two deaths, one was a maid who, owing to illness, was sent
from Forest Hill to her home here, and died within a week; the other
was that of a boy, aged 12 years, who was apparently quite well and
at school daily up to ten days before death.
In five of the houses no defects were noted, in three were defective
drains, and in the remainder nuisances of a minor character.
The probable cause assigned was the eating of mussels for two of
the cases, and watercress for a third; in the remainder no definite
reason was assigned, nor did investigation throw any light on the true
source of infection.
The drinking water cisterns in six of the thirteen houses invaded
were improperly kept.
I referred in last year's Report to the powers acquired under the
Public Health Act of 1907, for dealing with this form of nuisance, and
from Mr. West's monthly reports I notice that over 250 of them have
been dealt with, so that cisterns so kept as to render water liable to
contamination, will become yearly less.
Where the supply is constant, as here, there is no necessity for the
drinking water to pass through a cistern and expose to contamination
an otherwise pure supply.

The distribution of the cases as to Wards was as follows—

Wards:—St. James St.High St.Hoe St.Wood St.Northern.
And removals to Hospital were—
And the deaths occurring were—
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The death-rate for Typhoid was .01 per 1,000 compared with .06 for
the "76 Great Towns," and England and Wales.
During the year, seven deaths were registered from Diarrhœa, ten
from Zymotic Enteritis, nine from Enteritis, and five from GastroEnteritis,
or a total of 31, compared with 67 in 1908, 178 in 1906, and
73 in 1905.

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