War Surgery and Medicine
A malaria record card was inserted in every man's paybook, and the results of all laboratory investigations for malaria and accounts of clinical attacks were recorded. The dates of entering and leaving malarious areas and the changes in atebrin suppressive dosage were also noted. All medical units sent in to the ADMS a weekly malaria return.
It is considered that this system was very satisfactory and that the records of malaria in the field are accurate.
MALARIA IN 3 NZ DIVISION
There were 120 fresh cases of malaria developed in the Solomons from September 1943 to June 1944 among troops of 3 NZ Division: 43 from Guadalcanal, 44 from Vella Lavella, 11 from the Treasury Group, and 22 from Nissan. It will be noted that a large proportion of the cases occurred on the base island of Guadalcanal, where at no time were New Zealand troops engaged in combat. The high incidence on Vella Lavella is easily understood because on this island the most extensive and prolonged jungle fighting took place. The low rate for the Treasuries appears to have been due to the small native population, limited anopheline breeding, and low endemicity of malaria among the natives. The troops on Nissan had in the main previously served on Vella Lavella, and doubtless some of the cases occurring on the former were contracted on the latter. As men were on suppressive atebrin and were moving from island to island it was manifestly impossible to say with any degree of accuracy where the infection was contracted. Medical officers were asked to take all factors into consideration and say where in their opinion infection occurred.
A Field Park Company which was on Guadalcanal all the time had the highest malaria rate in the Division. The reason was not readily apparent. The unit was camped on the Matanikau river, close to an Allied convalescent camp where mosquito breeding was not well controlled in the early stages, but it seems likely there was a failure in malaria discipline. The battalion which probably had most exposure to malaria during combat on Vella Lavella had 33 cases of malaria, whereas the other two battalions on the island had 6 and 7 cases respectively.
Most of the small amount of fighting took place outside the malaria season of February to June. Nearly all camps were on page 538 good sites, and malaria control on all islands was good. Malaria discipline was rather better in the Treasuries and on Nissan than the other two islands. Natives were usually some distance from the camps and not great in number—they were probably of less importance as malaria carriers than the seeded troops who were present.
The highest strengths on the islands were 12,000 on Guadalcanal, 5700 on Vella Lavella, 4600 in the Treasuries, and 6600 on Nissan. The incidence was so small that it would seem to have had no direct relation to the numbers of troops, but rather to lapses of malaria control and discipline in individual units. This would be in common with experience elsewhere.
Just as 2 NZ Division was fortunate in not being kept fighting for any length of time in the most highly malarious areas, so 3 NZ Division had its occupation of malarious islands confined to a short period and most of it outside the real malaria season. With the onset of the season in early 1944 control measures were fairly complete, so that the incidence did not rise.
|Solomons||Developed in New Caledonia||Developed in New Zealand|