Desert Rats
A general purpose writer's discussion group for Rat Patrol writers and fans. Come on in and discuss writing, reviewing, and canon. A forum for facts, questions and discussions about the era that shaped both the times and the characters in WWII.
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I came across a pocket guide to North Africa which was given to military personnel serving in North Africa during WWII and printed by the War and Navy Departments, I thought it interesting and a handy guide for writers.


SANITARY conditions vary in North Africa. In the European sections of the bigger towns Europeans and Americans have to take no more precautions than at home. But in the rural parts of much of North Africa, especially in the Spanish Zone of Morocco, sanitation is very poor. An important rule to follow: do not eat food sold by native vendors in the street or in small shops.

The principal diseases of the country are typhus, malaria, syphilis, all of the typhoid variants, skin diseases, and amoebic dysentery. One form of typhus in North Africa is carried by lice; another form, similar to our Rocky Mountain fever, is transmitted by ticks. Syphilis and yaws are very prevalent. In some areas almost 100 percent of the population arc affected. Red and black varieties of the scorpion can give a nasty sting, and an unattended bite from a local cobra or asp will kill you.

The same rules for personal hygiene apply as elsewhere; you must keep your body clean. Inspect your clothes frequently for lice and ticks. These animals frequent the seams of clothing. Since they carry typhus they should be disposed of as quickly as possible. You should use your mosquito net if you do not want to contract malaria.

You should do little sun bathing, and though cases of sunstroke are rare, you should particularly be on guard against too much sun in summer. In a hot, dry climate it is very easy to get a bad burn during a relatively short exposure. This is especially true at the seaside. Never walk about in the sun without some form of headgear. It is not always necessary to wear a conventional sun helmet-—a campaign hat or other helmet is usually sufficient. The liner of your infantry helmet is an ideal tropical headpiece.

Great care should be taken in regard to drinking water. Filter the water whenever possible. Avoid drinking from streams and public wells and fountains, above all those in centers of habitation. The safest rule is to drink water only from a chlorinated lister bag. When that isn't possible and you are among Moslems it is a good idea to drink it in the form of lea. That is what the natives do and they make sure to boil the water a long time.

You will often hear it said that you must never cat fruits or green vegetables. Since these foods contain valuable vitamins it is desirable to eat them provided they are served by a well-established restaurant or have been inspected by competent military authorities. But by all means avoid alt fruits and vegetables which have been lying around in city markets.

3/17/2011 #1
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