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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Within six months of the issue of the order, Dr. Goodall, Superintendent
of one of the Metropolitan Asylums Board's Hospitals, while
making it quite clear that he was most firmly convinced of the value of
antitoxin in the treatment of Diphtheria was equally strong in his
aversion to its use as a prophylactic, and quite frankly stated that an
indiscriminate use of serum as a prophylactic or preventative, is not
only unnecessary but unjustifiable.
That the general practitioner, and those to whom the carrying out of
the order is entrusted can steer a safe course with such diverging
opinion from experts seems impossible, but it is well that all agree as to
the great value of antitoxin serum for curative purposes, while we are left
to recognise that there is little room for dogma in medical science.

The following figures taken from the Registrar-General's Quarterly Returns are of interest to show our position in reference to Scarlet Fever and Diphtheria, as compared with our immediate neighbours:—

Population.No. Notified.Deaths.
West Ham328,5859933571949
East Ham156,208329145413

The following table will be of interest as showing the drainage and other defects in houses in which cases of infectious diseases occurred, and will help to show their relationship:—

Total No. Notified.Disease.No. of Houses Invaded.No. showing defects as to:—Dirty Condition of the House.Percentage showing defects in:—Dirty Condition of Prem's.
Drains.Traps, Fittings. etc.Drains.Sanitary Fittings. etc.
26Typhoid Fever2236613.627.227.2
3Puerperal Fever3133.3
232Scarlet Fever1911336586.818.830.3