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

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Walthamstow 1910

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Walthamstow]

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The following tabular statement gives the necessary facts.

St. James Street.High Street.Hoe Street.Wood Street.Northern.
No. Notified442221744
No. of Deaths33423
No. removed to Hospital341520636
No. of Deaths in Hospital31312
Death-rate per cent. of those removed to Hospital8.86.615.16.65.5
No. remaining at home107118
No. of Deaths11001
Death-rate per cent. of those remaining at home10140012.5

The freedom of Wood Street Ward from this disease is very noticeable
and the comparatively large number of cases in St. James Street as
compared with High Street and Hoe Street and the Northern Ward
with nearly double the population, is evidence that the adverse
conditions commented upon in previous reports and referred to on
page 19, operate largely in promoting a high Diphtheria incidence.
The influence of age upon the resulting mortality from Diphtheria
may be appreciated by stating that seven deaths occurred among 40
sufferers under five years of age, eight deaths among 83 others between
five and fifteen years, while no death occurred among the remaining
fifteen over that age, that is, the death-rate in children under five is
twice as great as that between five and fifteen, and over that age the
prospects of recovery are quite good.
The necessity for the early treatment of Diphtheria in children has
been pointed out in previous reports and its insidious mode of onset
referred to. The offer to provide serum gratuitously for injection in
doubtful cases with the payment of a fee for provisional notification has
not been availed of to any extent.
During the year three provisional certificates were received.
An order was issued in August by the Local Government Board,
sanctioning the provision by urban authorities of a temporary supply of
antitoxin serum.
The order has been anticipated by you for at least ten years and
happily the expense incurred has never been questioned.
In a circular accompanying the order, the Board suggests that in
notifying practitioners of your willingness to supply serum free,
emphasis should be laid on the importance of prompt treatment by
antitoxin of those attacked by Diphtheria or exposed to the infection
of the disease.