WILLOUGHBY, W. M.
Journal of the Royal Sanitary Institute
It is pointed out that although the powers of the Port Sanitary Authority under the Local Government Board orders of 1907, for dealing with ships in which an unusual mortality among the rats has occurred, is very great, the onus of finding if such mortality exists rests with the Sanitary Authority and not with the master or person in charge of the ship. It is suggested that an article should be added to the regulations " throwing a heavy onus on the master, the officer in charge, and the representative of the firm or authority discharging the cargo of any ship from a port infected with rat plague, of notifying forthwith to the medical officer of health for the district in which the ship arrives or is lying any mortality amongst the rats on the ship." With regard to plague infected areas in the United Kingdom, by Article II of the " Destruction of Rats " order of 1910 the Local Authority shall (1) destroy all the rats in the district [" a large order "] and (2) prevent entrance into buildings and other premises; the expenses incurred to fall on the Port Sanitary Authority [Article IV.] Objection is taken to the latter regulation on the ground that " where danger to the community arises from or is traceable to the act or default of certain persons, or further, if even arising through them but from circumstances beyond their control, these persons, as the introducing agents, should pay for the riddance of that danger. . . . In short, the owners or users of the affected area should be. called upon to exterminate the rats under the direction of and to the satisfaction of the medical officer of health, and at their own cost." R. St. J. B.
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