This section is from the book "The Principles And Practice Of Modern House-Construction", by G. Lister Sutcliffe. Also available from Amazon: How Your House Works: A Visual Guide to Understanding & Maintaining Your Home.
The statutory powers relating more directly to combating infections disease are those contained in the Notification and Prevention of Diseases Acta.
(25.) The Infectious Diseases Notification Act, 1889. This is an adoptive Act. but its powers have been so widely taken advantage of, that it is practically in force all over the country (including the .Metropolis), its provisions being; incorporated with the Public Health (London) Act, 1891. The leading idea of the Act is to compel each medical attendant to immediately certify to the Local Authority every case of infectious or communicable disease specified in the Act; besides the medical man, it is the duty of the head of the family or. in his default, the nearest relative in the building, or the person in charge of the patient, or, in default of all the foregoing, the occupiers of the house, to notify the Local Authority under the same circumstances. The diseases specified are smallpox, cholera, diphtheria, membranous croup, erysipelas, scarlet fever, typhus fever, typhoid or enteric fever, continued fever, relapsing fever, and puerperal fever. The list may be added to temporarily or permanently, in manner provided for by the Act and with the sanction of the Local Government Board.
(26.) Disinfection. It is the duty, under Sections 46 and 120 Public Health Act, 1875, of a Local Authority to give notice in writing to the owner or occupier of a house, after infectious disease, to cleanse and disinfect More often in practice the officers of the Local Authority do this work. In districts which have adopted the Infections Diseases Prevention Act, 1890 the clerk to the Local Authority has at once to give notice to the owner or occupier, on information received, as to the necessity for disinfection; and there are provisions in that Act ensuring that, within a reasonable time, an infected house or room will be disinfected.
Infected articles may be burnt or otherwise destroyed, but compensation must be given (Public Health Act, 1875, § 121). Local Authorities have power to provide a suitable disinfecting chamber and appliances under the Public Health Act, 1875, § 122.
Owners of public conveyances must have their vehicles disinfected if they have conveyed a person suffering from a dangerous infectious disorder, under a penalty of £5 or less (Public Health Act, 1875, § 127).
An infectious corpse may be conveyed in a hearse but not in a public conveyance, unless the driver or owner is notified. The conveyance is then immediately to be disinfected (Infectious Diseases Prevention Act, 1890, § ll).1
(27.) The Establishment of Hospitals. Any Local Authority may provide for the use of the inhabitants a temporary or permanent hospital, not necessarily for the treatment of infectious cases. Two or more authorities may also combine in establishing a hospital (Public. Health Act, 1875, § 131). They also have power to establish hospitals in other districts besides their own (ibid., § 285; Withington Local Board v. Corporation of Manchester, 9 T. L. R. 206).
A Local Authority may provide ambulances for the conveyance of the sick (Public Health Act, 1875, § 123).
A Local Authority or 25 ratepayers may petition the County Council to provide an isolation-hospital, or cause to be provided a hospital for the treatment of the infectious sick. The Council's duty is then to make a local inquiry. If it is found that the hospital is necessary, the Council makes an order to that effect. Such hospital is managed by a committee, consisting of either the members of the County Council, or partly of representatives of the local area, or wholly of local representatives (Isolation Hospitals Act, 1893). Ambulances arc bound to be provided if a hospital of the kind is established (ibid., § 13).
(28.) Special Statutory Powers with regard to Cholera. The Local Government Board may from time to time make, alter, or revoke regulations as to the treatment and prevention of cholera or "any other epidemic, endemic, or infectious disease" (Public Health Act, 1875, § 130). Whenever any formidable epidemic or infectious malady actually threatens any part of England (or Ireland), the Local Government Board may make regulations for the speedy interment of the dead, for house-to-house visitation, for the provision of medical aid and accommodation, for cleansing, ventilation, disinfection, and so forth (Public Health Act. L875, § 134).
The Local Authority has ample power to borrow funds for this purpose (46 and 47 Vict cap. 59). Two or more Local Authorities may combine for the purpose of dealing with an epidemic (Public Health Act, 1875, §§ 139 and 140). The Local Authority has to carry out any regulations the Local Government Board has made, and certain special powers are given for this purpose (Public Health Act, 1875, §§ 135, 136, and 137).
1 As stated above, this Act is an Adoptive Act only.