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New Zealand Medical Services in Middle East and Italy

Health of the Troops

Health of the Troops

The health of the troops in the first few months in Italy was maintained at a good standard. The incidence of sickness was low during November in spite of the change of climate, the only page 522 increase of note being in respiratory and functional nervous diseases. The daily admissions to hospital were 1·09 per 1000 for officers and 1·19 per 1000 for other ranks, as compared with 0·84 and 1·12 in October. The rate increased a little to 1·3 per 1000 in December and January.

Accidental injuries showed a marked increase in November and accounted for 434 admissions to medical units out of a total of 2000.

In December the prevalent conditions in Italy were skin diseases, upper respiratory infections, diarrhoea, and infective hepatitis, with a noticeable increase in hepatitis from sixty to ninety-eight cases. There was a widespread incidence of diarrhoea noted in the Division with an onset very akin to hepatitis, but with no development of jaundice. Relapses were common. Minor cases of sickness, including upper respiratory infections, tonsillitis, and gastro-enteritis, were retained in the MDS up to nine days for return to their units. All cases of hepatitis were evacuated to the Base.

In January the same diseases were encountered and there was no increased sickness in spite of the extreme cold and wet on the Sangro front. There was only a very slight increase in the number of hepatitis cases. Four cases of typhoid were recorded, two occurring in recent reinforcements who had not been re-inoculated in the Middle East.