Plague in a time of war: an experience in South Vietnam

John S Whitehall
Med J Aust 2009; 191 (11): . || doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2009.tb03376.x
Published online: 7 December 2009

The first rat I met in South Vietnam in 1967 was a hairless pup, jiggled by the tail in front of a bawling infant in a clinic we were holding in a refugee camp in sand dunes on the central coast, south of the city of Tuy Hoa. His mother had produced it from inside her shirt for tranquilising purposes, and it did the trick. As his eyes focused, the infant’s larynx relaxed, and everyone began to feel better until stubby hands groped for the rodent. With a twist of the wrist, however, the mother avoided a spectacle that might have lingered in our minds.

  • John S Whitehall

  • University of Western Sydney, Sydney, NSW.


Competing interests:

None identified.


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