HL Deb 11 March 1897 vol 47 cc429-30

expressed his satisfaction with the vigorous measures which had been taken by the local authorities in Bombay to deal with insanitary buildings. This was a very great opportunity for dealing a thorough manner with the sanitary needs of the city of Bombay, and he trusted that the local authorities would receive all the support and financial aid they deserved in attaining the aim and object which they had at heart. It was under the influence of the prevalent disease that the authorities would naturally enlist more easily that co-operation of those most interested which would facilitate the carrying out of measures which in ordinary times often met with a good deal of opposition. Having noticed that Dr. Yersin had reached Bombay, he ventured to ask the Under Secretary of State for India whether any reports had been received of the results of Dr. Yersin's operations since his arrival, and any steps taken to prepare the Yersin serum in Bombay, and to provide a supply of it to the towns of Poona, Karachi, Surat, and to other localities in which the disease had declared itself; and what further information had been received with reference to Professor Haffkine's inoculations, the degree of protection they afford, and the time during which they remain operative?


The noble Lord has a very intimate acquaintance with the locality in which the plague unfortunately is now prevalent—namely, the Presidency of Bombay, and I am very glad to hear from his lips that he approves of the steps taken by the Government of Bombay to combat the plague. Steps have not been taken in the town of Bombay only, but equally vigorous measures have been taken in Karachi and Poona, and I can assure the noble Lord that the sanction of the Secretary of State will not be refused to any expenditure which may be deemed by the Governments of India and Bombay necessary to combat the plague. With regard to the question the noble Lord has addressed to me, I have to say that Dr. Yersin has returned to Bombay, and the only intelligence that we have as yet received is that he reached Bombay and began work on March 6; the effect of his remedy on plague patients only a day or two ill is reported to be "surprisingly good," while cases of old standing are said to be "not so much benefited." Information has not yet been received regarding attempts to provide or use Dr. Yersin's or Professor Haffkine's serum at Poona and Karachi. Regarding operations with Professor Haffkine's serum, the following further information has been received. Up to and including March 7, 2,341 persons had been inoculated, of whom only two (in addition to the two described in my answer to the noble Lord on February 15) have been attacked by plague; both attacks occurred within five days of inoculation, and both sufferers are alive. People are coming forward more freely to be inoculated, and the practice is extending. The Government of Bombay are preparing an organisation for the extension of depôts for purposes of inoculation and for instructing medical officers in the process. Steps are also being taken by the Government of Bombay for popularising prophylactic inoculation and for increasing the amount of lymph that can be produced. The Secretary of State will receive information weekly of the extent to which the practice is resorted to, with report as to its efficacy, and those I shall be willing to furnish the noble Lord with from time to time if he should so desire.


said their Lordships might not know it, but the man who was combating this great disease in Bombay was a German. He believed the man who thought he could combat successfully the cholera was a German, or, at all events, a foreigner. The man who had gone to Cape to fight rinderpest was also a German. From what he had been told, he knew there were men in England quite as able to do these things as foreigners; it was only a matter of money.