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Fever Outbreak (Mombasa)

Volume 467: debated on Tuesday 19 July 1949

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asked the Secretary of State for War if he is aware of the fact that, since May last, a typhoid epidemic has been raging in the British Army Camp at McKinnon Road, Mombasa, Kenya, from which disease two British and five African soldiers have died, whilst some 85 other cases of infection have been reported; and if, in view of the danger to all the other men in the camp and the anxiety now being felt by their parents and many other citizens, he will either have them brought home or removed from the area of contact.

I have now received a full report on this unfortunate outbreak in East Africa. A total of 88 cases of typhoid and enteric group fevers were reported up to 8th July, of which 34 were British and 54 African. I regret to say that, in addition to the deaths of the two British soldiers which I mentioned on 24th May, four African soldiers have died. I would like to take this opportunity of expressing my sympathy with the relatives.

The outbreak originated amongst the African troops, but the source of infection cannot be definitely stated. The water supply was thoroughly investigated and it seems most unlikely that it was the cause. Everything possible has been done to ensure that the hygiene of the area is fully up to standard and to ensure that all troops and civilian employees are fully protected by inoculation. A good number of civilians in the area have also been inoculated. The outbreak is now under control, although the possibility of further cases occurring cannot be ruled out.

Is it a fact that before this outbreak the occupants of this camp had not been inoculated? Does it mean that these precautions have been taken only because of this outbreak?