Jonathan_NW wrote:Hi everyone
My Great Grandfather and his two elder brothers all served in South Africa. Sadly, the eldest brother, 2969 Private Fred Bunn of 1/Manchester Regiment died of Enteric Fever on 29 June 1900. Unfortunately, for reasons that will never be known he does not appear on the Regimental QSA roll and without either this or a service record it is difficult to know where he served. In an analysis of clasps awarded to other members of the Regiment I am fairly certain that he saw action at Elandslaagte at was probably involved in the Siege of Kimberley. As he died 3 months or so after the beseiged were relieved would it be possible that he contracted Enteric there? Would anyone be able to tell me what the average lifetime was of a man from contracting the fever to his death?
Your question about Enteric Fever is a really good one as the fever was a big killer of British troops in Africa and else where. For those who don't know, it is a bacterial infection that effects the intestines and gives you diarreha and you just have a problem with getting nutrition and water. You have a bad headache and a fever and you just loose a lot of weight as you can't get proper nourishment. You can get a red rash, and the diahreaha can turn to constipation.
As to the time line you are pondering as to when your great great uncle contracted the disease, once you get the disease, it takes one to three weeks to show symtoms. You have a 10%-30% chance of dying without modern vaccine. Once you get the horrible symptoms, you are sick for about three or four weeks and then you recover...most of the time. Your body kills all the Enteric bacterium but in 5% of the recovered, it is carried for life and the infected person can transmit it. Many people have resistance to the disease. Their bodies either kill the bacteria or they can become carriers. The disease is commonly called Typhoid fever here in the United States.
It is a human disease only and it is usually transmitted through the feces and that gets into water, (rivers), fairly easy. That is probably where your great uncle got it though it's obvious that he could have gotten it from dirty hands, food, etc.
In The last few months of 1898, the British troops that served in the Sudan were coming down the Nile to be stationed elsewhere. By the time they got to Cairo, the Citadel Hospital, (formerly the palace of Mahomed Ali), was filled with Enteric victims. And the victims of the disease also filled the hospital at Alexandria, (Egypt) and even on Crete. A lot of the troop ships leaving Egypt had both conflict wound victim as well as Enteric casualties. These victims of the Sudan, would never really be realized by the general public or historians.
I have already lifted a glass of wine to private Fred Bunn and his sacrifice.