HC Deb 15 February 1940 vol 357 c944
66. Captain Plugge

asked the Minister of Health whether he can make any statement as to the number of cases of influenza and their severity reported up to the present?

Mr. Elliot

The number of cases of influenza is not exactly known, because the disease is not notifiable, but the number of deaths ascribed to influenza in the great towns in England and Wales (which include over half the total population) give some indication of the prevalence of the disease. The numbers of such deaths reported in the period of six weeks ended 3rd February, 1940, have been successively 46, 94, 158, 291, 416and 350. These figures are higher than the normal figures for this time of the year, but the age distribution of the deaths is of the normal type, so that the greater numbers of deaths suggest greater prevalence of the disease rather than its occurrence in unusual severity.