HC Deb 30 May 1881 vol 261 cc1641-2

asked the President of the Local Government Board, Whether it is the fact that the matron and one or more nurses at the Hospital at Halifax have recently taken smallpox, a few days after re-vaccination; whether there is any reason to believe the vaccination was of variolous matter; and, whether it is the fact that there is in use in the country a large quantity of vaccine which is in fact variolous matter, or smallpox communicated from the human subject to cattle, and from them extracted and used in innoculation under the Vaccination Acts?


At the end of March last a small-pox patient was sent to the Halifax Fever Hospital, and thereupon the matron and staff were strongly urged to be vaccinated; but they all refused. Three weeks afterwards the matron showed symptoms of the disease, and on the day following four of the nurses were vaccinated. In one of them a slight attack of small-pox showed itself in two days, and in another a more severe attack in four days afterwards. It is evident, therefore, that they must have been under the influence of the disease when the vaccination took place, and at a stage when the latter could be of no avail. The other two nurses escaped altogether. There is no reason to believe that the vaccination was of variolous matter, and the medical man who vaccinated them distinctly states that it was good vaccine lymph. As to the last Question, if by variolous matter is intended the matter of small-pox, or matter capable of producing small-pox, there is no such matter used in vaccination under the Vaccination Acts; and, as a matter of fact, all attempts of late years to produce small-pox in cattle by innoculation with variolous matter would seem to have proved altogether abortive.