A Victorian polymathBMJ 1998; 316 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.316.7139.1221a (Published 18 April 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:1221
- M C Petch, consultant cardiologist
On 19 March 1898 theBMJ published a report from Dr C B Plowright, entitled “On the epidemic of enteric fever at King's Lynn, October 1897” (BMJ 1898;i:770-2). The whole epidemic “comprised well on for 500 cases” of which 50 were analysed and formed the basis of the report. The author was the local medical officer of health; it seemed obvious to him that the onset of the epidemic was triggered by a heavy rain storm on 29 September when 2.25 inches fell in 24 hours. This permitted an examination of the incubation period because 19 of the 50 cases were notified during the last week in October. Only one patient died but the morbidity was considerable and the average time spent in bed was six weeks. Convalescence was reported to be “very slow; many …
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