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New Zealand Medical Services in Middle East and Italy

Mosquitoes and Bedbugs

Mosquitoes and Bedbugs

The 4th Field Hygiene Section caught in Maadi Camp in May 1940 several specimens of anopheles pharoensis, the malarial carrier of Egypt. This was quite a surprise to the local authorities, who regarded the area as free of anopheles. It was believed they bred in the neighbouring villages, so pressure was brought to bear on local authorities to deal with the menace. The Field Hygiene Section maintained a steady drive against possible breeding places of mosquitoes. A prolific breeding ground for ‘culex’ was located in two water tanks in a camel-police camp near Maadi Tent and probable sources in untreated stagnant irrigation wells. Further spots were found in culverts draining irrigation water from the channel filled daily with water from the camp baths. These spots were all oiled immediately. (Later, on 8 July after an intensive search, stone cisterns in the Jewish cemetery, a mile and a half along the Citadel road, were found to be breeding anopheles mosquitoes. No malarial parasites were found in captured mosquitoes.)

Bedbugs made their appearance, too, during May 1940. They were brought into camp when some of our troops returned from Mustapha Barracks, where they were stationed for a short period. They were also probably introduced in furniture brought from Abbassia. Measures taken against these bugs included steam disinfestation, the sprinkling of tents with pyrethrum powder, and dipping bedboards in kerosene. The bugs, however, continued to thrive and proved one of the banes of life in the huts at Maadi Camp.