HC Deb 30 March 1927 vol 204 cc1249-50

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he can give the House any information regarding the outbreak of smallpox in the congested area in Dundee; if the source of infection has been traced; and what precautions are being taken against the spreading of the disease?

The SECRETARY of STATE for SCOTLAND (Sir John Gilmour)

I understand that up to this morning 42 cases of smallpox had been diagnosed in Dundee. Of these, four are adults, two are persons of 16 years of age, and the remainder are children of school age or under. With the exception of the four adults, who were vaocinated in infancy, all the cases were unvaccinated. The disease is very mild in type, and the outbreak is confined to a limited area in the east end of the city.

The source of infection has not yet been traced, but a member of the staff of the medical officer of health is wholly engaged in endeavouring to discover how the disease reached Dundee.

All cases are removed to hospital and steps are immediately taken to carry out disinfection. Another pavilion is being erected with the utmost expedition at the hospital; in the meantime a marquee is being used as emergency accommodation, and two others are available if required. Doctors, inspectors and nurses are carrying out a house-to-house visitation in the infected area, to keep the outbreak under control, and cases of contact are removed to a reception house or kept under daily medical observation in their homes. A special staff is engaged on vaccination work under the direction of the medical officer of health who is, in addition, supplying lymph to general practitioners free of charge. Lymph for 16,000 persons has so far been issued. Centres have been established at which anyone may be vaccinated at any hour of the day within reasonable distance of his residence, and arrangements are being made for the vaccination of the staffs of workplaces and the inmates of institutions, etc. Vaccination is also being carried out at schools. As a precautionary measure, steps are also being taken to make chickenpox compulsorily notifiable throughout Scotland without delay, but meantime this is already in operation in Dundee by arrangement with medical practitioners.


Do I understand the right hon. Gentleman to say that all these cases have arisen in the congested areas in the east end of Dundee; and if so, can he take other steps than merely vaccination to limit or prevent the spread of this disease?


I think my answer will show that every possible step is being taken to deal with the outbreak at the source by the method of vaccination.


I said "other than vaccination." Has the right hon. Gentleman taken any steps of a sanitary nature to deal with the outbreak?


Yes, Sir. The officers responsible for the health of the city are taking every possible step in every-direction.


Will the right hon. Gentleman try to ascertain how many so-called conscientious objectors are now submitting to vaccination?