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War Surgery and Medicine

Epidemic and Endemic Diseases

Epidemic and Endemic Diseases

Enteric Fever: Cases of enteric fevers occurred occasionally, but there was one outbreak in the latter half of 1943 which involved much laboratory work—in one month 762 specimens (blood cultures, urines, and faeces) were derived from this source alone, ‘clearance’ specimens contributing largely to the total.

Dysentery: Bacillary and amoebic dysentery were endemic—peak months were November 1941, October 1942, and September 1943, when 358, 732, and 662 specimens of faeces were respectively examined. Careful search for amoebae in every case of dysentery throws much work on the laboratory staff.

Malaria: This too was endemic, but showed peak months which unfortunately almost coincided with the peak dysentery months—September 1942, 428; August 1943, 567 specimens examined.

Infective Hepatitis: Many cases were admitted during the Middle East epidemics—few were fatal. The laboratory work involved consisted of blood counts, icterus indices, and urine and faeces for bile pigments. While much of this work was not essential it was felt important to take advantage of the epidemics to make some laboratory studies. Much more might have been done with adequate staff.

Diphtheria: Occasional cases occurred throughout the period. At the end of 1942 there was both an increase in faucial diphtheria and in diphtheritic infection of wounds. At one stage the nursing staff were Schick tested and the susceptible members immunised.

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