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Smallpox (Variola Minor Cases)

Volume 498: debated on Wednesday 26 March 1952

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asked the Minister of Health what advice the medical officers of his Department, who recently visited Rochdale and Milnrow, gave to the local medical officer of health on the measures to be taken to deal with the epidemic diagnosed as variola minor; and, in view of the fact that this disease is similar to the one described in his Department's review of the Vaccination Acts, 1867 to 1907, as a disease which, if taken by itself, has no more formidable consequence than chickenpox or varicella, if he will amend his regulations so as to remove variola minor from the list of notifiable diseases.

Medical officers of my Department have been to the Rochdale area to study the outbreak of smallpox of the type known as variola minor, and to place their knowledge at the disposal of the local medical officers of health, who have the responsibility for taking such measures as they judge necessary to check the outbreak. As I am advised, it would be dangerous to the public health to do away with notification of this form of smallpox; to do so would also be incompatible with our international obligations.