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Mortality Among Panama Canal Labourers

Volume 181: debated on Tuesday 20 August 1907

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I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will make inquiry into the rate of mortality among the labourers employed on the Panama Isthmian Canal.

I understand that my right hon. friend the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs has called for an official report, but has not yet received it. I may mention, however, that very beneficial results have followed from the strict enforcement of sanitary laws and anti-mosquito regulations in the canal zone, and from the application of the new knowledge of tropical diseases to local conditions. In October, 1884, there were twenty-one deaths and eighty-four cases of yellow fever amongst 2,706 non-im munes, in a total of 19,243 men, employed in the construction of the canal. In October, 1905, among 4,000 non-immunes in a total of 22,000 employees, there was no death and only one case. This is an excellent instance of the inestimable value of the kind of research work which is being conducted by the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and other institutions of a similar kind.

If the information is not received till after the prorogation will the right hon. Gentleman have it circulated?