asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether she will make brucellosis in humans a notifiable disease.
I have no plans to make brucellosis notifiable. Cases are few and there has been no marked increase in recent years. Moreover, diagnosis is often un- certain and transmission between humans is virtually unknown.
Does the Minister recognise that if notification figures were available, figures for those areas, such as Northumberland, where eradication is failing would be very startling indeed? Does he agree that in the case of a disease such as brucellosis, which is incurable and has lifetime effects, it is important that his Department should be notified and actively involved, and that it should not be seen simply as a problem for the agricultural industry to solve by itself?
We are closely involved with the Ministry of Agriculture. The most important reason for making diseases notifiable is to enable speedy action to check their spread. In the case of brucellosis, the time needed to establish diagnosis reduces the value of notification.