New Zealand Medical Services in Middle East and Italy
In order that a special effort may be made to combat this disease it is thought that more interest may be taken and better results obtained if all officers, warrant officers, NCOs, and men understood how this disease is carried from one person to another, and the methods taken to prevent its spread.
It is impossible to get dysentery except through eating or drinking something contaminated by dysentery germs. In plain words it means that a person who gets dysentery has swallowed food or drink which has been defiled from a “latrine”. Hence the necessity for disinfecting the hands after using latrines.
It is most strongly emphasised that the idea that anyone coming to Egypt must get “Gippy tummy” is absolutely wrong. In many cases so-called “Gippy tummy” is mild dysentery and will not occur if the proper precautions are followed.
It is obvious, therefore, that it is a disease that can be prevented by good sanitation. The infection of dysentery is usually carried out as follows (the precautions to be taken being shown under each heading):
Contamination of Body by Dirty Hands, Flies, etc.: Only purchase food from clean sources. Avoid unlicensed hawkers. Protect food from flies and dust. See that the mess orderlies wash their hands. Do not eat any food that appears in the least way tainted. Disinfect your hands after using the latrines and before meals.
Contaminated Water, Milk, Minerals: If in the least doubt boil the water. Tea is a good safe drink. Always boil fresh milk and keep all drinks protected from flies and dust. Only use minerals from recognised Army sources. Ice is almost invariably contaminated in transport and should not be put in drink.…
Uncooked Vegetables, Salads, Fruits: In no circumstances eat uncooked green vegetables (lettuces, etc.) and onions. Eat only hard skinned fruit (except red melons) with a sound skin. Dip in boiling water for thirty seconds, or soak for one hour in “pink” solution (permanganate of potash), the strength being such that the bottom of the container cannot be seen through the solution. After soaking, rinse in tap water. Tomatoes, dates, and figs may be bought if their skin is unbroken and they are treated in a similar manner. No fruit, vegetable, or other food is to be purchased from hawkers, who are forbidden to enter the camp precincts. Egyptian cheese is stated to be unsafe. Avoid overripe fruit. Grapes must not be eaten.
Melons are safe to eat provided they are bought from a thoroughly reliable source (of which one is the Nile Cold Storage and Ice Coy.). The best type of melon is the “Chilean Black”, followed by the ordinary water melon. Melons should bear the Government stamp.
It must be emphasised that the above does not authorise the indiscriminate purchase of melons from any source.