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

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Shoreditch 1859

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Shoreditch, Parish of St. Leonard]

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In order to show more distinctly the operation of different causes in different years, I have drawn upthe following Table, which exhibits the mortality from ten principal diseases in each of the last five years :

principal diseases.18551856185718681859
Tubercular Diseases (including Phthisis)526460542498499
Pneumonia -256235235213163
Brain Disease155194186221221
Diseases of Heart and Blood Vessels7581796984

This Table informs us that Tubercular diseases made no advance
upon the previous year, that Bronchitis and Pneumonia were much less
fatal; tbat Fever, the chief sanitary test, is progressively diminishing
year by year, exhibiting a most encouraging sequence; that Scarlatina,
although it has prevailed extensively, was not quite so fatal as in the preceding
year; that Diarrhoea was more fatal; that Brain-diseases were
equally fatal; and that Small-Pox, destroyed 67 persons more than in
1858, and 34 more than in 1855, the year of a previous epidemic.
With the exception of Small-Pox, a subject to which I shall presently
advert more particularly, this Table gives satisfactory evidence of the
progress of sanitary amelioration. Much must however be ascribed to the
favourable meteorological influences of the year. The influence of temperature
was especially remarkable. The cold of winter causes an excess of
mortality by causing inflammation of the lungs; and the inordinate
heat of summer, by giving rise to diarrhoea. But usually, long continued
cold destroys more persons than the short heats of summer. The mean
temperature last year was nearly 51°. There were but four weeks, namely
the two first in the year, and the fiftieth and fifty-first, which were marked