HC Deb 10 April 1911 vol 24 cc29-30

asked if he is aware that eighty-six children died in the borough of Popular suffering from measles during the four weeks ending 1st April; that the parish of Bromley alone accounted for forty-five of these deaths, while in Hampstead only three children died of this disease; that the general death rate of Hampstead and Bromley is. 7.9 per 1,000 living and 25.5 per 1,000 living, respectively; if he is aware that in the parish of Bromley a number of wage earners are casual labourers and permanently under-employed; and if, under these circumstances, he proposes to take any steps to prevent further sickness and death in this and other similar districts, either through the Central (Unemployed) Body or any other way?


The figures given as to the deaths from measles in the boroughs of Poplar and Hampstead during the four weeks ending 1st April are, I understand, correct. The number of deaths in the parish of Bromley was, I am informed, forty-one. In this parish the mortality from measles was low in 1910, and a considerable increase in the mortality was according to experience to be anticipated this year. The figures given by the hon. Member as the annual death rates are, I understand, based on the returns for one month. It is, of course, misleading to attempt to measure the vital conditions of a district by statistics relating to a few weeks during an epidemic period. I am quite aware that the death rates of localities vary in consequence of many causes, one of the most important being the social condition of the inhabitants, and also that the social condition is dependent, amongst other things, upon the amount of employment available. The matter dealt with in the close of the hon. Member's question is engaging the attention of the Government.


Have any steps been taken to make measles a notifiable disease?


Yes; steps have been taken during the last month. Frequent conferences have been held between the Local Government Board, the Board of Education and County Council and Borough Council Medical Officers, and the steps taken are, in the judgment of all concerned, better than if measles were made compulsorily notifiable.