§ MAJOR RASCH (Essex, S.E.)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India whether his attention has been called to the fact that the Returns for 1897 show an increase of secondary syphilis of 8.5 in admission rate per 1,000, of mortality of 17, of constantly sick of 1.18, as compared with previous year; and that the number invalided home was 662 in 1897 as against 479 in 1896, being an increase of 183, or 33 per cent., of venereal disease; whether the information in the hands of the War Office shows that this increased virulence is duo to the fact that patients do not undergo early treatment, but are removed from cantonments to spread disease elsewhere; and, if it is the practice to treat men suffering from constitutional syphilis in barracks instead of in hospital, which causes an apparent reduction in the number of admissions and renders the statistics misleading?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR INDIA (Lord GEORGE HAMILTON,) Middlesex, Ealing
The figures relating to venereal disease are correctly given by my honourable and gallant Friend, but as regards admissions are applicable to troops in cantonments only. The information available does not admit of any definite conclusion being drawn as to the cause of the increased virulence of secondary syphilis in 1897 as compared with 1896. Treatment of soldiers in barracks, in certain stages of the disease, has doubtless caused some reduction in the admission rate, but as it has been practised for some years, it does not, I think, affect the comparison of one year with another.