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New Zealand Medical Services in Middle East and Italy

Work at the Base Hospitals

Work at the Base Hospitals

During the first three months of 1945 there was little change in the routine of the hospitals. At Senigallia 1 General Hospital continued to receive patients from the Division, and 3 General Hospital at Bari received patients from base units and carried out the later treatment of the cases evacuated from Senigallia. At 1 General Hospital all patients were held except those boarded for return to New Zealand and some special long-term cases. The great majority of the cases were returned to their units either direct or through the Convalescent Depot. A saline bath was set up at this time.

A mild epidemic of diphtheria was experienced, with some diphtheritic infection of wounds. At 1 General Hospital in January there were sixteen cases of diphtheria with some skin infections. In February a total of 97 cases, including 27 carriers, was recorded in 2 NZEF and 34 cases were admitted to 1 General Hospital. (Out of nine cases in 3 General Hospital, four developed widespread peripheral neuritis.) Most of the cases at 1 General Hospital were faucial cases of average severity evacuated from the Division. There were many cases in the civilian population at this time. Cutaneous diphtheria was also relatively common, but clinical nasal infection was uncommon though nasal carriers were frequent. No hypertoxic diphtheria was seen and no complicating neuritis developed after the adoption of a minimum dosage of 96,000 units of anti-toxin. Carriers were isolated, and segregation eventually controlled the outbreak. From twenty-four in March, the number of cases in 1 General Hospital dropped to seven in April, and the epidemic was over. In April there were only eleven cases, including two carriers, in the whole 2 NZEF.

No. 2 General Hospital continued in a backwater at Caserta, mainly treating British patients and making preliminary preparations in case of removal to the Po valley. (This projected move did not page 647 eventuate. A detachment, however, was sent forward, at first to relieve, and then to work in conjunction with, the CCS.)

During January one convoy of 137 patients was received from 3 General Hospital, otherwise only occasional New Zealand cases were admitted during the whole period. The majority of the cases were local sick from nearby British units and overflow cases from British and Canadian hospitals.

No. 2 General Hospital reported fifty-nine cases of atypical pneumonia amongst British troops during February, whereas there were only thirty-four cases of pneumonia of all types recorded in 2 NZEF. The atypical pneumonia cases ran much the same course as in the previous winter, with absence of clinical signs, positive X-ray shadows, and acute illness. Isolation of the cases was carried out.