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Medical Units of 2 NZEF in Middle East and Italy

Prevention of Disease

Prevention of Disease

In Tunisia part of 4 Field Hygiene Section was kept very busy arranging the disinfesting of prisoners. At Bir Soltane 3000 of them were examined for signs of lice and sorted into ‘clean’ and ‘unclean’ groups. The latter were treated in groups of twenty with a solution of kerosene and soft soap, and their clothing steam-disinfested and dusted with lice powder. This work had to be done at top speed as it was necessary that all prisoners be treated before they were moved to the rear areas. All vehicles carrying prisoners were sprayed out with formalin to prevent the spread of lice. The proportion of lousy Italian prisoners to Germans was about nine to one, the Germans being anxious to get cleaned up but the Italians being apathetic. All these precautions were not designed merely for the comfort of the enemy troops but were an effort to prevent any typhus epidemic, and in this they were successful.