New Zealand Medical Services in Middle East and Italy
The Florence campaign covered the period of maximum incidence of malaria, and the activities of the Hygiene Company were mainly concentrated on that aspect of its work. There were few cases in the Division. In July there were forty-one and in August twenty. It is interesting to note that headquarters of the Allied armies in Italy allowed an incidence of three per 1000 per week before special notification of an outbreak was necessary. This would have been about 240 cases a month for the Division, but its highest incidence was only one-sixth of this figure. This excellent result was achieved by:
The interest of senior officers, which was communicated by them to all ranks.
Continued inspectorial work by the hygiene inspectors.
Close liaison between medical and administrative branches, with the wholehearted co-operation of the latter in ensuring that offending units reported by the Hygiene Company inspector were made fully aware of their responsibilities.
By the aid of power and hand equipment flysol and DDT spraying had proceeded unremittingly. All breeding places were sprayed twice weekly and DDT was sprayed on vehicles, officers' tents, etc. Paris page 602 green and malariol were applied to water areas. The mobile role of the Division made larval destruction rarely possible. Repellants were used by the troops. Unit squads were instructed and assisted, their usefulness depending on the interest of the commanding officer and the efficiency of the RMO. Anti-malaria notices and posters were utilised freely.
The bath and laundry unit continued to function; and clothes were also washed by the individual soldier and by Italian washerwomen. Showers were made available by Ordnance to the brigades. The Hygiene Company made arrangements especially for the front-line troops. No lice were reported.
Water: Patterson auto-motor trailer purifiers were used by 2 NZEF at all water points, the water being chlorinated and filtered mechanically.
Sanitary arrangements gave rise to no new problems and the standard throughout the Division was maintained by all units. Otway pit covers with fly-traps were being used for the deep-hole refuse pits. This had reduced the flies in unit lines, particularly in the vicinity of cookhouses. Sullage water was also disposed of in the pit and helped to prevent fly-breeding in the lower deposits. The latrines were of the semi-deep pit type and were surmounted with fly-proof superstructures fitted with a fly-trap. Urinals were of the ‘desert lily’ type. The disposal of putrifying animal carcasses gave rise to some trouble.