Pneumonia (Statistics).

Oral Answers to Questions — Public Health. – in the House of Commons on 6th August 1942.

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Photo of Sir Frederick Messer Sir Frederick Messer , Tottenham South

asked the Minister of Health the relationship between the number of cases of acute primary and influenzal pneumonia notified, and the actual incidence of these conditions?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

As there is no other reliable evidence of the incidence of pneumonia than that afforded by statutory notification I am unable to give the desired information.

Photo of Sir Frederick Messer Sir Frederick Messer , Tottenham South

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is a large number of cases which are not notified, and will he devise some machinery to ensure notification?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

I will look into it, but I do not think there is any reason to believe that there is any substantive failure to notify pneumonia. Indeed medical opinion is that there is rather over—than under—notification, from the standpoint that other things than can strictly be described as pneumonia are so notified.

Photo of Sir Frederick Messer Sir Frederick Messer , Tottenham South

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there are more deaths recorded than notifications?

Photo of Major Abraham Lyons Major Abraham Lyons , Leicester East

Is it not time to overhaul this question of notifiable diseases altogether?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

That is a different question.

Photo of Sir Frederick Messer Sir Frederick Messer , Tottenham South

asked the Minister of Health the number of acute, primary and influenzal pneumonia cases notified each year from 1932 to 1941, inclusive, together with the number of deaths from these conditions?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

As the answer involves tabular statement, I will, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the statement:

Cases of acute, primary and influenzal pneumonia notified in England and Wales from 1932 to 1941 and deaths from these conditions during the same period.
Cases of acute, primary and influenzal pneumonia notified.Deaths from Pneumonia (all forms).Deaths from Influenza with pneumonic complications
193257,40130,7435,716
193365,00931,25910,744
193451,48329,7512,505
193546,90127,8433,325
193646,16728,8902,830
193755,89630,3318,910
193845,16027,4672,179
1939*42,31223,4033,588
1940*47,87529,1954,852
1941*50,94226,4182,880
* Including non-civilians.

Photo of Sir Frederick Messer Sir Frederick Messer , Tottenham South

asked the Minister of Health whether there has been a fall in the death-rate from acute pneumonia since the introduction of chemotherapy in 1938, in view of the known reduction in the mortality rate in controlled series of cases from, approximately, 30 per cent. to 10 per cent.?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

I am advised that, although one drug in particular used in chemotherapy has lowered the fatality rate in controlled series of cases and proved its value in certain kinds of pneumococcal infection, the complications of pneumonia are such that it would not be justifiable as yet to look for any substantial effect on mortality from the disease in all its forms.