Boj s nákazlivými chorobami v Poľsku po prvej svetovej vojne

Fight against Infectious Diseases in Poland after WWI

Epidemics of infectious diseases have always been associated with the humankind since times immemorial. They would always become widespread first in areas struck by wars. They caused death, economic disasters and conditions of famine, disorganisation of healthcare and sanitary structures and/or mass migrations of population. During WWI all these phenomena manifested themselves with enormous force. In this paper, the author examines occurrence and disastrous effects of various epidemics, mainly the typhoid fever, on fighting regular armies, migrating irregular armed formations, and civilian population. He pays a special attention to the borderland regions of Poland, as a country divided by three powers. The effectiveness of political and medical precautions introduced by the German, Austro-Hungarian or Russian (later on Soviet) state authorities and administration in order to manage the situation during the war is compared to measures implemented by the government and state administration of the restored Poland in a difficult post-war situation. These territories, still being scenes of fights after November 1918, witnessed movements of huge masses of people, comprised both of military persons and civilians. They migrated in the east-west direction (refugees of various nationalities and prisoners of war) but also in the opposite direction (soldiers of the former Russian army returning from German and Austro-Hungarian P.O.W. camps and workers from forced-labour camps). All of these routes served for the dissemination of infectious diseases throughout the territory of the new Polish state. These infections caused death of a much greater number of people than the immediate war operations.