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New Zealand Medical Services in Middle East and Italy

Venereal Disease

Venereal Disease

This was very prevalent in Italy and the war conditions made it difficult to control, as clandestine prostitutes abounded in every large town. Brothels were licensed by the civil authorities, but accosting was not permitted and the women could be arrested and page 523 given treatment. Treatment by sulphonamide was at first unsatisfactory owing to the presence of sulphonamide-resistant strains of gonococci. This was thought to be due to the regular taking of sulphonamides by the prostitutes both for prophylaxis and treatment. Treatment of our cases was thereby prolonged, and local antiseptic measures had to be again resorted to and many cases were given treatment in hospital.

The number of fresh cases during the month of November was 42, of which 16 arose in Egypt and the remainder in Italy. Of these, 10 were gonorrhoea, 4 venereal sores, 2 syphilis, and 10 non-venereal.

In December 55 fresh cases were treated, 35 of them gonorrhoea, 17 venereal sores, and 3 cases of syphilis. Of the gonorrhoea cases 82 per cent returned to their units, the remainder being sulphonamide-resistant.

In January there were 38 new cases, of which there were only 8 fresh cases of gonorrhoea and 1 of syphilis. It will thus be seen that there was a low incidence of venereal disease at this period.