Whilst researching history of diseases and public health in Salisbury, we came across this account from the nursing archives. It describes an outbreak of Erysipelas; also known as St Anthony’s Fire because of the intense red rash. Not necessarily a dangerous illness but uncomfortable skin disease which could lead to sepsis, in modern times repeated outbreaks would be treated with antibiotics.
Our excerpt states ‘that during the present contageous state of the house, the House Surgeon and Matron be allowed the use of wine’ – it is not clear if the wine is for the patient or staff! However staff seemed to be under pressure and involved a great increase of extra work due to the outbreak ‘…that in consequence of the Extraordinary Exertions of the nurses during the illness of patient suffering under severe Erysipelas the Matron made them such compensation as she may judge necessary.‘