chapter  3
16 Pages

The media and the management of a food crisis: Aberdeen's typhoid outbreak in 1964


When the official inquiry chaired by Sir David Milne reported on the Aberdeen typhoid outbreak at the end of 1964 they were very aware of the use of the media in the outbreak by the Medical Officer of Health and yet went on to criticise his methods, as not 'wholly justified'.2 The cause of the outbreak appeared to be one can of contaminated corned beef from Argentina, which hospitalised over 500 people during May and June 1964. This chapter seeks to explore the background of the media response to the events in Aberdeen in 1964 and to place it in context. It will be suggested that the media usage could be interpreted as a development of press and policy relations at a time when a 'new' style of public health more concentrated on prevention, i.e. health education, was developing in the United Kingdom.