HC Deb 05 February 1948 vol 446 c312W
77. Mr. Bramall

asked the Minister of Health whether he is satisfied that existing regulations governing the storage, display and handling of foodstuffs are adequately enforced to ensure that no avoidable risk is run of a repetition of the infantile paralysis epidemic.

Mr. Bevan

Existing legal requirements in this field are very extensive, and local authorities know the powers they have got. Nor is there much evidence that epidemics of this disease are caused by methods of handling food.

84. Colonel Stoddart-Scott

asked the Minister of Health how many cases of infantile paralysis were notified in 1947 and in how many cases was the diagnosis confirmed; how did this epidemic compare with any previous one; and if he is expecting a similar epidemic this year.

Mr. Bevan

In 1947 primary notifications in England and Wales numbered 9,199. Corrections in diagnosis are expected to reduce this figure to about 7,350. The previous highest figure since 1912, when notification became compulsory, was 1,585 in 1938. I cannot prophesy about future incidence.

85. Colonel Stoddart-Scott

asked the Minister of Health what steps he has taken and intends to take to prevent an occurrence of an epidemic of infantile paralysis; and what research into the causation, prevention and treatment of this disease is his Department sponsoring.

Mr. Bevan

It is not yet known what conditions cause such an epidemic, so that it is difficult to do more than take the general precautions I mentioned in my reply to the hon. and gallant Member on 7th August last. My Department and the Medical Research Council are investigating past outbreaks and trying to discover how the virus, which is known, is spread.