THE EARL OF CARNARVON
, in rising to ask a Question of which he had given private Notice—namely, Whether the Government had any information to impart in regard to the outbreak and spread of cholera in the South of France? said, he wished very much to impress upon the Government that there were certain things they were enabled to do; and particularly the necessity that they should take measures of precaution. An Act was passed last year, which gave very extensive powers to the authorities for the prevention of diseases; and he had no doubt that Her Majesty's Government intended to put those powers into force. But, if he remembered rightly, the Act was only in continuance for one year, and it expired in September next. It was, therefore, important that it should he renewed; and he would like to know, not that he had any great doubt about it, whether it was intended to renew it? The second point which he wished to draw the attention of the Government to was the importance of urging upon local authorities to take measures, such as the use of disinfectants, and other means that might be considered desirable, for the prevention of the disease. He also wished, lastly, to put it to the Government as to whether it was their intention to send out some qualified medical man, in the nature of a Commissioner, to inquire into and report upon the exact character of the disease, about which there seemed to be a good deal of difference of opinion. It was desirable, at all events, to know whether the disease was Asiatic cholera, or whether it was a disease due to local causes.
§ LORD CARRINGTON
My Lords, I have to state, in reply to the first part of the Question of the noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Carnarvon), that it is the intention of Her Majesty's Government to ask your Lordships to renew the Act of last year to which he has referred, and which expires, as he says, in September next. In reply to the second part, I have to state that great precautions have been taken by the Government in the shape of orders and instructions issued to sanitary authorities. Under those regulations, an officer of the 1517 Customs may detain a vessel on its arrival in England, if he suspects it to be infected with cholera. He must give notice of the detention to the sanitary authority of the place of detention, who must thereupon cause the ship to be visited and examined by their medical officer of health or some other medical man. Moreover, without any action on the part of the Customs officer, the medical officer of health may visit and examine any ship which he has reason to believe is infected with cholera, or has come from a place infected with cholera. If, after his examination, the medical officer of health certifies that the ship is infected, no one can leave it until he has been examined by the medical officer of health; and, should he be found to be suffering from cholera, he must be sent to an hospital. Doubtful cases may be detained on board, or at an hospital, until it is ascertained whether the disease is cholera. Provision is also made in the regulations for the disinfection of articles on the ship. As regards the question whether a Government official should be sent to Toulon to report on the outbreak of cholera there, the Local Government Board think that at present there is a want of evidence to show that it is more than an outbreak of severe and excessive diarrhœa engendered by the insanitary conditions of the place. That, so far, is satisfactory. Moreover, it is stated that Drs. Brouardel and Proust have been commissioned by the French Government to make inquiry as to the disease and the measures which are taken to prevent its spread. It may be anticipated that the Report of these gentlemen will contain the information required. In these circumstances, it appears premature at present for the Board to determine whether they should recommend the Treasury to incur the expense of sending an Inspector to make special inquiries.
THE EARL OF CARNARVON
said, he was much obliged for the answer of the noble Lord; but he must express his great disappointment at the concluding observation—that the Local Government Board did not think fit to send out a Commissioner to inquire into it on the ground of the expense. He protested against any such conclusion as unworthy; and as the outbreak was, apparently, a very serious matter, he hoped the Go- 1518 vernment, or, at any rate, the Local Government Board, would give it their earnest consideration.
§ LORD CARRINGTON
said, that he would bring the recommendation of the noble Earl under the attention of the President of the Local Government Board.