Unwanted Journeys

Diseases pay no heed to borders and people working in healthcare and health policy often have to work on ways to restrict the transmission of disease. These two documents show initial steps made to try and prevent the spreading of two diseases.

“The Department of Health and Social Security has been informed by the World Health Organisation of the occurrence of four cases of cholera in Barcelona and seven cases in Malaga. The situation is, however, reported to be under control.
Until further notice, the Department is advising travellers going to these two localities to seek vaccination against cholera as a precautionary measure, but points out that cholera vaccination by itself is of limited value and provides only partial protection.
International certificates of vaccination against cholera are not required as a condition of entry to Spain.” 

Press Notice 27/208 issued by Department of Health and Social Security on 27, April 1979.

This letter has two objectives:
a. to inform you about the latest phase of the public education campaign. This emphasises the increasing risk of infection with HIV as a result of vaginal intercourse and is likely to stimulate a number of patients to turn to you for advice.
b. to explain the current AIDS situation in the UK, and to give further information about advice which may be offered to those who think they have been at risk and about testing for HIV antibodies.” 

Circular CMO(86)18 from Department of Health and Social Security dated 2, December 1986.

The Department of Health and Social Care library maintains a collection of historical health guidance and circulars. The librarians working there are sometimes asked to refer back to such documents when dealing with current issues. For example, during the recent Covid pandemic they used material collected during the 1980s and 1990s AIDS pandemic to influence Covid public health messaging.