Med J Malaya, 1948;2:161-73.


This is an interesting piece of Colonial history, compiled, one presumes, from official reports. It cannot satisfactorily be summarized. The author deals with his subject under various heads: hospitals, health legislation, dangerous infectious diseases, prevailing diseases, beriberi, fever and malaria, dysentery, and diarrhoea, influenza and enteric fever. In a table are given the numbers of cases of smallpox, cholera, plague, beriberi, dysentery, diarfhoea and fevers reported each year from 1890 to 1939. The only one of these to show steady reduction is beriberi, which began to decline from figures over 2,000 per annum before the 1914-18 war to 69-444 per annum from 1930 to 1939. Plague was never common and neither cholera nor smallpox was responsible for large numbers of cases. The author does not give any systematic accounts of the outstanding investigations made during the period, but rather quotes opinions expressed by Government servants, medical or lay, in their reports. Charles Wilcocks.