New Zealand Medical Services in Middle East and Italy
Flies were one of the plagues of Egypt so well remembered by men of 1 NZEF, when the presence of horses in the lines had added greatly to the problem of fly control. There had been a remarkable improvement since the First World War, but the fly was still present in teeming numbers and was an objectionable insect and a constant menace to health. Warning was given to the troops and the urgency of fly control was well instilled in the force. The Hygiene Section waged an eternal war against them. Fortunately, Maadi Camp was some considerable distance from native quarters and it was therefore possible to carry out efficient control; throughout the war there was never any marked increase in their numbers and at times there were few to be seen. The early summer months were the worst period, but in the hottest months, as in the coldest, the flies disappeared. Control, however, was never relaxed and full sanitary precautions were taken to destroy any possible breeding grounds. The kitchens and storerooms were fly-proofed, kept clean of any refuse, and cleaned efficiently. All refuse and swill bins were provided with lids and all pits covered. The latrines were all covered and gradually boxed in, and sawdust was used to cover over the faeces. The urinal tins were kept clean and crude oil or disinfectant put into them after they were emptied. The latrine buckets were emptied twice daily by contractors and the seats scrubbed daily. page 49 Fly-traps were used when the flies were numerous. The methods used to kill flies in the camp consisted of: (1) spraying with anti-fly solutions; (2) tanglefoot on wires or paper; (3) fly swatters; (4) formalin solution (one dessertspoon to a pint) with sugar in open dishes with a centre of bread for the fly to alight on; (5) fly-traps with bait such as formalin and sugar. It was thought that flies were at times blown by the high winds from the sewage farm associated with Tura prison and the Egyptian military barracks. The farm was found to be in a very neglected state, with extensive fly-breeding in scum and sludge pits.