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"Diseases on Offer"
 
Life for those living on the jebel was extremely tough. The indigenous jebalis lived both in caves and also in their round shelters of stone and stick  that they built as near to established water supplies as possible. A smoky poorly ventilated cave which you share with your livestock and squadrons of biting insects is both unpleasant and conducive to the spread of communicable disease.  In addition to the disagreeable interventions that SOAF dispensed from the air there were on hand various endemic diseases to add their miseries.
The variety of "diseases on offer" can broadly be defined into bacterial, viral and parasitic. The chances of being afflicted depended on your current location and accommodation, how well prepared you were and what preventative measures you had or had not taken.
  • Gastroenteritis and diarrhoea
  • Malaria
  • Mumps
  • Trachoma
  • Shigellosis
  • Gonorrhoea
  • Brucellosis
  • Syphilis
  • Hepatitis B
  • Tuberculosis
  • Typhoid
  • Leprosy
   
  • Poliomyelits
  • Rubella
   
  • Leismaniasis
  • Toxoplasmosis
   
  • Filariasis
   
  • Hookworm
  • Giardia
  • Entamoeba
   
  • Schistosomiasis
   
This list is taken from an article in The American Journal of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine by Scrimgeour et al in 1999    
There were an awful lot of organisms snuffling around wishing harm to all and sundry. No soldier functions well with trachoma at the top, a malarious spleen in the middle and gastroenteritis at the far end.
It is well to remember that at the second Battle of El Alamein 20% of the German Forces were disabled by illness. No respecter of rank, infectious hepatitis struck down Erwin Rommel and he had to leave Africa to recuperate in Italy.
The answer to all this is simple. FSTs whilst they might be a little glamourous and reassuring come very much second to the distinctly unglamorous good sanitation and hygiene practices. Neglect of such means that commanders face the prospect of sickly troops who do not function efficiently and require huge medical resources for their care.