§ Sir F. Fremantle
asked the Minister of Health what evidence is there of any general epidemic of influenza; what is its extent as compared with that of last year and that of the last war; what are the prospects of its prevalence in the next few months; and whether, and what, steps are being taken to deal with the more serious possibilities?
Mr. M. MacDonald
There is no evidence at present of any general epidemic of influenza. In the 126 major cities and towns of England and Wales during the four weeks ending i3th January, 1939–40, there were respectively 27, 45, 94 and 158 deaths from influenza. The comparable figures for 1940–41 were 30, 40, 53 and 74. I shall be glad to provide the hon. Member with the numbers of influenza deaths during the last war as soon as possible. It is impossible to estimate with any precision what the incidence of the disease may be in the coming months, but past experience suggests that, unless a sudden marked increase in the number of deaths from influenza occurs in the near future, a serious epidemic will not supervene. All practicable steps have, however, been taken to deal with the more serious possibilities.