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The Bournemouth Outbreak of Typhoid Fever

    Naturevolume 140pages145146 (1937) | Download Citation



    THE report of the late Dr. Vernon Shaw, on his investigations into the outbreak of enteric or typhoid fever that occurred in Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch in August and September 1936, has been issued by the Ministry of Health (Reps, on Pub. Health and Med. Subjects, No. 81. London: H.M. Stationery Office. 9d. net). The outbreak was first brought to the notice of the Ministry on August 21, 1936, and Dr. Shaw began his investigations the following day. He was informed that thirty cases of enteric fever had been notified during the preceding twenty-four hours, and that a number of other patients, scattered throughout the three towns, were tinder observation. The only factor common to all the patients was the consumption of raw milk retailed by one distributor. It was concluded that the milk was infective for a period of about thirty-one days preceding August 22, and the approximate number of persons who contracted the disease was 718, of whom 518 were residents, and of these fifty-one died. No source of infection could be discovered among those distributing the milk, nor at the retailer's depot. The supply was collected from thirty-seven farms scattered throughout a large part of Dorset. Dr. Shaw was satisfied that the outbreak was due to the consumption of raw milk, and that the dealer's supply was infected by the contributions of one or possibly two producers whose milk in turn was infected by water from a contaminated stream. Immediately the outbreak was recognized, the distributor, acting on Dr. Shaw's advice, pasteurized the whole of his supply, and no unpasteurized milk was distributed after the morning round on August 22. This measure was immediately successful in terminating the outbreak.

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