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2008, vol. 14, iss. 1-2, pp. 37-44
Malaria in Serbian army at Salonika front: Review on outbreak in second half of 1916
Military Medical Academy, Belgrade
Keywords: malaria; epidemic; Serbian Army; Salonika front
Abstract
Although malaria was described more than 3 000 years ago, it is only by the end of XIX century that plasmodium was identified as a cause, and mosquito as a vector of the disease. During wars, numerous contagious diseases which usually follow wars, become widespread and severe. During the Salonika Front it was malaria, as a true wartime infection, not only within the Serbian Army but also within the allied (French and Great Britain) and the opposing troops (Austria- Hungary and Bulgaria). In spite of the applied measures at the level of medical achievements of that time, and adequate military organization, malaria epidemic was resistant and persisted up to the Salonika Front breach, in 1918. Any omission in military organization of life and lodging of soldiers reduces efficacy in preventing outbreak and influences severity of clinical manifestation of the disease. Malaria turned out to be the disease that reduced combat readiness of Serbian and allied armies, but, fortunately, and opposing armies as well. It is possible that the reason for long periods of combat inactivity on both sides was blockade of combat power induced by epidemic. The total mortality of affected Serbian soldiers was 412 (in French army mortality was 1175), the highest number of deaths occurred in second half of 1916th (261), from July 1st to December 31st 1916th Our country is the stage of eradication (the last autochthonous case was recorded in 1964), but in our study we found continuous importing of disease in Serbia, some 30-40 cases per year, with usually severe clinical presentation, and late recognition and specific antimalarial therapy. Multidisciplinary approach is essential. In primary health care the most important is the early recognition of the disease.
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article language: Serbian
document type: Historical Item
published in SCIndeks: 06/10/2008

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