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New Zealand Medical Services in Middle East and Italy



Admissions to medical units were:—

1945 CMF MEF Total
January 47 2 49
February 18 4 22
March 22 1 23
April 31 5 36
May 40 94 134
June 27 34 61

The incidence of dysentery was very low throughout this period. In Italy there were few cases except those reported as amoebic dysentery by 3 General Hospital, mainly following examination of the stools of patients and staff. Amoebae were found following routine stool examination for bacillary dysentery or acute gastroenteritis, when it was considered that the amoebiasis was not responsible for the symptoms. The diagnosis of amoebiasis was made in many cases in patients admitted primarily for other diseases, such as diphtheria, coronary artery disease, infective hepatitis, and atypical pneumonia. Such cases had given a history of previous diarrhoea, ill-defined dyspepsia, vague ill-health, or loss of weight, page 670 and had shown on purgation to be harbouring entomoeba histolytica. In June it was noted in 3 General Hospital that of the 173 medical cases remaining in hospital at the end of the month, 47 were suffering from amoebiasis. (It is possible that in some of these cases there was no active amoebic infection but, on the other hand, the development of symptoms of amoebic dysentery later in New Zealand has been a prominent feature in returned servicemen and tends to confirm the findings at 3 General Hospital.)

Enlargement of the liver was noted in 103 of the 252 cases of intestinal amoebiasis at 3 General Hospital. Of the cases with enlargement, thirty-seven had had a previous attack of infective hepatitis and all these cases failed to respond to emetine. All but six of these cases had returned to normal within six months and none developed amoebic abscess. Of the sixty-six cases with no history of infective hepatitis, all were well after three to six months, but half of them still had some enlargement of the liver. It was considered as a result of the investigations that there was no conclusive evidence that the liver enlargement was due to amoebiasis.