§ Mr. Peter Rees
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what emergency procedures exist for dealing with outbreaks of spotted fever and similar virulent diseases.
§ Dr. Owen
"Spotted fever" is a term for the disease now usually known as meningococcal infection, which generally leads to acute meningitis. It usually appears as a single sporadic case but small groups of cases are occasionally reported.
The first priorities for the doctor responsible are to treat the patient with drugs and to notify the local authority's medical officer for environmental health who is responsible for the control of notifiable infectious diseases locally. Notification is mandatory in accordance with the Public Health (Infectious Diseases) Regulations, 1968. Prophylactic drugs may be given to close family contacts or, in closed communities, to everyone in the community concerned. Procedures for other virulent diseases vary according to the nature of the disease.