1897 Scarlet Fever

HOW SCARLET FEVER IS SPREAD.

George Peter Lawrence, of Ivy Cottage, Church-road, Mitcham, was summoned before the County Magistrates at Croydon on Saturday for exposing his son Charles while he was suffering from scarlet fever, and he was further summoned for failing to notify the medical officer of health that the child was suffering. The defendant’s wife appeared, and said she thought the child had the measles.

Mr. J. Wilson, clerk to the Croydon Rural District Council, who prosecuted, said the Magistrates probably knew there had been a serious epidemic of scarlet fever at in Mitcham, and the authorities had the greatest difficulty in inducing people to take ordinary precautions. In this case the Inspector of Nuisances received information that the child was attending school while suffering from scarlet fever, and the officer on visiting the parents’ house found that the child’s hands were peeling, a very infectious stage of the disease. Mr. Wilson added that this was a very serious ease, inasmuch as the defendant’s wife kept a laundry.

Charles Coleman, of 16, Bailey-road, Mitcham, was summoned for exposing his two children, Richard and Walter, and with failing to notify the medical officer of health that they were suffering from scarlet fever. Mr. Wilson said that in this case the children were also sent to school, where it was discovered that they were suffering from scarlet fever. Dr. Shaw said the children had had the disease for four or five weeks, and were peeling when he saw them. He told the mother that she was not to allow the children out : yet three days later he found them in the street playing with other children.

John Littleton, of 15, Bailey-road, Mitcham, was similarly summoned in respect to his son John. In this case the Inspector found the child playing in the street while suffering from the fever.

Hannah Adaway, of 7, Thorn-terrace, Phipps-bridge-road, Mitcham, was also summoned with regard to her daughter Ada. The defendant pleaded that she had had great domestic trouble, having had five children down with scarlet fever, and been ill herself.

Mr. Byron, in dealing with the cases, remarked upon the serious nature of the offence, and told the defendants that they were liable to a fine of £5 each. Lawrence was fined 5s. and 2s. 0d. costs in each case, and Adaway, Coleman, and Littleton were each ordered to pay 15s., including costs.

Time was allowed for payment in each case.

Source: Morning Post – Monday 30 August 1897 from the British Newspaper Archive (subscription required)

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