1 NOVEMBER 1940, Page 3

Health Conditions in Shelters

In a broadcast on Tuesday Mr. MacDonald dwelt on the new danger to public health that may arise from the gathering of people to sleep night after night in large air-raid shelters. For some time the Ministry of Health has been considering what steps can be taken to cope with the risks of epidemics of influenza, cerebro-spinal fever and other infectious diseases. The first precaution that should be taken is the avoidance of overcrowding—and that means having enough shelters in the places where they are needed. Nothing will serve to prevent the spread of infection if shelters are densely packed with people. But it is equally essential to ensure that they are dry, Warm, clean and provided with sanitation, and this will only be possible if adequate staffs are provided to keep them in good condition. Mr. MacDonald said that it is intended to provide medical aid posts for the larger shelters, with a nurse in regular attendance and a doctor in residence or on call. He also stated that the most dangerous illness to be feared apart from influenza was cerebro-spinal fever, and that there are large reserves of the new drug which minimises the effects of this disease. But prevention is better than cure. The Govern- ment has been warned in advance of the dangers, and it must be counted upon to leave nothing undone to prevent camps and shelters from becoming breeding-grounds of disease.