§ MR. WEIR
To ask the Secretary of State for India if he will state how many deaths have recedtly occurred in the Punjab through natives having been inoculated with contaminated plague serum; and will he say how many weeks elapsed before the use of this serum was arrested, and who is responsible for its issue to the medical staff.
(Answered by Secrelary Lord George Hamilton.) Certain changes, stated to be in accordance with the recommwndations of the Plague Commission, were recently made in the manufacture of plague serum in the Plague Research Laboratory, Bombay, by the Director, with the object of expediting manufacture, reducing the dose, and increasing protective efficiency. On complaints reaching the Government of the Punjab from the inoculating staff that certain bottles of the fluid thus prepared had been found to be putrid, that Government, on 1st November, directed its discontinuance, after it had been in use for exactly a month. At that date only two suspicious deaths had been reported, but subsequently to the issue of the order I regret to say that twenty-one others occurred, nineteen ensuing from the use of one particular bottle. The doctor using this bottle had offered to inoculate himselg first, but the villagers accepted inoculation without this, no official pressure being employed. A thorough inquiry is being made as to the cause of the contaminated serum and the precise degree of responsibility attaching to the officers voncerned, and I have requested that the result may be telegraphed to me without delay. Inoculation has now been resumed with the fluid as previonsly used, under special precautions as to purity. The temper of the people is reported to be excellent. The Viceroy has authorised the Punjab Government to grant compensation to the families of the suffcerers.