Venereal Diseases in War


    ACCORDING to M. Schubert (Ven. Dig. Inform., 22, 327; 1941), a comparison between the incidence of venereal diseases in the Prussian Army during 1903–1913 and the four years of the War of 1914–18 showed that the average incidence was 20.4 per 1,000 during peace–time and 20–5 per 1,000 during the War. Contrary, therefore, to the widely prevalent but false assumption that the incidence of venereal diseases during that War was much higher than in peace, the difference was only very slight. The only increase which did occur was in the number of cases of syphilis. Of those infected during the War 67.5 per cent contracted their infection at home and only 32.5 per cent at the front. After demobilization of the army after the War there was a catastrophic increase in the incidence of venereal disease up to 1921–22, after which date there was a gradual decrease which in 1925–26 became increasingly noticeable and was probably due to better–regulated conditions for treatment. The decrease in the incidence of syphilis was greater than that of gonorrhoea. During the past few years chancroid has been very rarely seen in Germany. During the first nine months of the present War no increase in the incidence of venereal disease has been observed except among the troops who had been in Poland, in whom the number of syphilitic infections was low and chancroid was not found.

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    Venereal Diseases in War. Nature 148, 313 (1941).

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