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Dysentery Outbreak, Oldbury

Volume 530: debated on Thursday 15 July 1954

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asked the Minister of Education if she is aware of the outbreak of dysentery among children of certain schools in Oldbury; and if she will make a statement as to the cause.

I understand that out of 82 confirmed and 28 suspected cases of dysentery in Oldbury arising between 1st April and 10th July, 54 of the con- firmed and 25 of the suspected cases related to children of school age, chiefly from three schools. The infection has been identified as a common type and the outbreak has been mild in character. I am satisfied that the local health authority, in conjunction with the local school medical authorities, are doing all in their power to check the outbreak. It has so far not been possible to identify the original source of infection.

Will the right hon. Lady review the staffing arrangements that have been imposed by her Department on the school meals service to discover whether the economies which have been made are not a contributory factor to the outbreak of food poisoning in the school meals service in my constituency and elsewhere in the country?

There is no reason to believe that infection arose from meals or milk supplied to the school, but it has not yet been possible to identify completely the original cause of the infection. A short time ago a circular was sent to all authorities dealing with the school meals service, making suggestions for the improvement of hygiene in schools.