§ MR. JOWETT
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether, in view of the fact that during the six months ending 20th March last there were fifty-four cases of anthrax reported to his office, fourteen of which were fatal, and that in eight of the fifty-four cases his officers have failed to ascertain the kind of material upon which the person attacked had been engaged, he can see his way to make such arrangements as will in future enable him to inform himself as to the materials which have carried the infection.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. GLADSTONE,) Leeds, W.
I understand the hon. Member refers to some statistics of anthrax with which I recently furnished him. In the eight cases in which a return was made of "material not ascertained," the reference intended was to the material by which the infection was actually conveyed, and not to the material on which the worker was engaged. It is sometimes impossible—especially in the case of miscellaneous occupations such as that of dock labourer, carter or the like, in which six out of the eight cases occurred—to trace the source of the infection; a mere entry of the material on which the worker had been engaged would not serve any useful purpose and might be actually misleading. Every effort, of course, is made by the Medical Inspector of Factories to trace the source of infection in each case, but 1145 it is difficult to see what further arrangements, especially in the case of miscellaneous employments such as those mentioned, can be made to ensure a knowledge of the particular material which has carried the infection. I should add that the figures quoted by the hon. Member refer to a period of nearly nine months, and not six as stated in the question.
§ MR. JOWETT
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Homo Department whether, in regard to all future cases of anthrax which occur at seed-crushing, oil-extracting, and bag-making works, he will endeavour to ascertain the kind of material from which the bags used in seed-crushing and oil-extraction operations have been made and, in the case of bag-making works, what materials are being used.