HC Deb 22 May 1930 vol 239 cc565-6
42. Mr. DUKES

asked the Home Secretary if his attention has been directed to the following fatal cases of anthrax in the Liverpool, Runcorn and Warrington district: Walter Pritchard, 16, Ellesmere Street, Warrington, January, 1920; William Ronald Williamson, Runcorn, February, 1929; Thomas Burden, July, 1929; Ernest Hindley, Runcorn, March, 1930; Richard Andrews, 35, Fothergill Street, Warrington, 12th April, 1930; and Mary Dawbarn, 3, Glazebrook Street, Warrington, 20th April, 1930; and whether, in view of the frequency of these cases, he will set up a committee of inquiry with a view to having this disease treated more expeditiously than at present?


As the answer is a long one, I propose to circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.


Have the local authorities succeeded in tracing the source of these cases of anthrax?


The hon. and gallant Member had better read the very long answer, and, if he wants further information, it will be supplied.


Has the hon. Gentleman's attention been directed to a statement made by Dr. Hodgson, of Fazackerley Hospital, in which he states definitely—


The hon. Member is giving information and not asking a question.

Following is the answer:

The cases mentioned in the question were all reported to the Factory Depart- ment and carefully examined, and my right hon. Friend is advised that, while in some of them the seriousness of the case may have been aggravated by some delay in recognising the disease, treatment was given without delay in every case as soon as it was recognised to be anthrax.

It is, of course, most important that cases of anthrax should be recognised as well as treated without delay, and various steps have been taken by the Factory Department from time to time with this object. For example, a large placard indicating symptoms and precautions and the urgency of medical examination where infection is suspected has been prescribed for exhibition at the places of work; and a small card on similar lines is now being prepared, which the workman can keep by him and show to the doctor or hospital authorities, to indicate that his employment involves risk of anthrax. Further, special steps have recently been taken as regards the tanning industry in which my right hon. Friend understands all but one of the cases referred to in the question occurred. The Senior Medical Inspector recently addressed a circular to the hospitals in districts where cases have occurred drawing attention to the risk among persons handling hides and skins, and the importance of being on the look-out for possible cases among patients presenting themselves at the institution. Again, in a recent Home Office circular to tannery occupiers the importance of prompt diagnosis and treatment was specially mentioned, and they were urged to review their arrangements for securing this and to get into touch with local hospitals where necessary.

My right hon. Friend does not think that the appointment of a committee of inquiry would be likely to carry matters any further, but the subject will continue to receive close attention, and if my hon. Friend has any particular suggestion to make my right hon. Friend will be very glad to consider it.

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