HC Deb 24 July 1973 vol 860 cc553-4W
Mr. Worsley

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether, in addition to the present inquiry about smallpox, he contemplates any further study of organisms equally capable of causing infectious disease in laboratory workers or the general public.

Sir K. Joseph

Yes. As a first stage, I am setting up an expert group with the following terms of referenceTo consider whether there are organisms capable of causing communicable diseases that require measures to be taken in laboratories or elsewhere additional to these now recommended in order to prevent infection in man or in animals and to make recommendations as to the measures required. I would expect the group to identify the organisms to which special consideration must be given, to assess the risks in scientific and technical terms and to pro- pose measures of control and if necessary restriction that might be taken. Its report will provide the essential material for the second stage, wide-ranging discussions with bodies representing different interests.

I have not finally decided on the composition of the expert group but it will include microbiologists, laboratory technicians and others with practical experience in safety procedure requirements in laboratories and in control of communicable diseases in men and animals.

I have arranged for the committee of inquiry into the smallpox outbreak to be informed.