The Akaroa Mail FRIDAY, JANUARY 29, 1915. COMBATING DISEASE IN WAR.
The most dreadful calamity which war'bring3 in its train is disease, and it is very comforting to hear tbat Sir Frederick Treves, the great physician, who went through the South African War, has said that never were British wounded so well treated, never was an army medical service so efficient as in the struggle tbat is taking place today. In nearly every war waged last century disease claimed many more victims than bullets. In the Crimea 230,0ut of every 1000 British soldiers died of typhoid, dysentery and other infectious diseases. • la the Franco Prussian war tbe annual death rate from disease among French troops was 140.8 per thousand; among the Germans 24 5 In the Boer war, lasting two years and eight months, 5,774. British soldiers, in a force bay in"- an average strength of 208,326, were killed in battle, and 2108 died of wounds, a total of 7,882, or about 14 per thousand a year. Disease claimed 14,210, or 25 58 per thousand a year, which was almost double the number slain by Boer bulled It was left for the Japanese to sbow, in their great struggle with tbe Russians, bow dis ease could be reduced to a minor factor in the causing of mortality, by ! scientific care and system which
ugh< no pii caution too small to be observed. The war lasted twenty months, during which the Japanese, fighting most of the time in trenches Allies are doing now in France aud Belgium, lost 54 per thousand of their rm-n a year by tho bullets of the
enemy, and only 25 .per thousand by disease. It is almost impossible to conceive the losses from disease in tbe winter campaign which the Allies are carrying on now in France and Belgium were the sanitary conditione al lowed to remain the same as they were a century ago. Napoleon loßt nearly the whole of bis army of 100,000, which fought at Leipzig, in two months, as the result of infectious diseases brought on by sanitary ne gleet. Soldiers died of disease by thousands, scattered among the villages along the route|from Germaoy, leaving pestilence in thejr wake. Even with- tbe most perfect modern safe guards, fighting in the sodden trenches ib detrimental to the strongest man's health, and Sir Frederick Treves himself de.cribes sol diere in hospital who left England "fine alert men, and are now so bent and limp that they shuffle as if they had just left the torture rack " Tbe Royal Army Medical Corps has done wonders, and tbe proportion of B>ck m'Q is very small. Thanks to the modern system of inoculation against typhoid, only twenty two members of the British Force have died from this disease, and they were all men who had not been inoculated It is curious that a very few New Zya landers,, after offering themselves to face tbe real dangers of the war, have returned rather than submit to this inoculation, which a wise policy would would make compulsory for all armies. ■- A recent writer states that, as tbe result of vaccination, " typhoid fever is becoming a negligable ele> ment in the military organisation, The United States army leads tbe I world in the extent to which this pre-
ventive ia used, and France is foremost in this regard amongst European nations." Till the vaccine for this malady was discovered typhoid was ono of the worst scourges of tho French Army in Algeria. Tbe use of the preventative made it almost nonexistent there, as it has done again in' the European war. In another respect modern science has mado war leas dreadful, by enormously inevea sing tbe percentage of recoveries from wounds Tbe -'Journal of Surgery" [drew attention a few days ago to this i anppot of the present war, and a | French writer tells U3 that amputa. tioßs ara very rarely made as tbe result of woacda with modern bullets He quotes the record of a surgical hospital at Vichy, whore in one montb o>u of ;» total of 000 operation?, less fcbau ico amputations were found necessary.- and those were of a very minor kind. In ibe Manchurian campaign one third of fcop wounded Japanese returned to the ranks within one fmontb, and it seems probable that record will be equalled, if it is not surpassed, in the present campaigns.