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Acta Medica Medianae
Vol. 48, No1 , Januar, 2009
UDK 61
YU ISSN 0365-4478


Correspondence to:
Goran Čukić

Dom zdravlja

84300 Berane, Crna Gora

E-mail: epid.dz.berane@t-com.me







From the history of medicine



DR LAZAR GENCIC, COLONEL (1868-1942)(THE MEDICAL CORPS OFFICER of Supreme command of Serbia 1912-1916)



Goran Čukić


Health Center Berane


If the change is considered as something useful – as engaging new manpower having advanced conception – then the matter is correct. Why was the colonel dr Lazar Gencic, the medical corps officer of Supreme command of the Serbian army 1912-16 replaced? Why none of the critics in 1925 evaluated the ongoings during the  typhus fever epidemic in 1914/15, which was the subject of Hanter`s investigations published in 1919?  Judgments related to the activities of military health care in the epidemic of typhus fever were exaggerated; they did not start from the actual situation. The accusations addressed to the Head were unjustified because he was imputed “scientific exhaustion of the world medicine” which was following the course of typhus fever epidemic. He was at position of the medical corps officer when, indisputably, huge losses befell Serbia, with: 150000 diceased, of which 20000  in the the Army. We do not think the accusations were justified: «Who doesn't remember our wandering in terms of prophylactic and other measures, that uncertainty, confusion which was mostly reflected in discordant and impossible commands; that lack of the most elementary ideas about disinfection, as well as lack in disinfection devices and so on. The cost of our mistakes was high. “In the history of epidemiology the remark about our ignorance of theory and practice in the typhus fever struggling of that time would stay recorded, and that is where the catastrophic losses come from in 1914-1915”. We will show that the critics are tactless; that they came “after finished battle”, after the solution had been found. We will give the arguments – that even in collective operations, the Head was successful: because he indirectly contributed to the the solution finding, providing undisturbed work of more competent ones, that is he never prevented anyone to express itself. He indirectly contributed to the social confirmation of the Nobel prize award for the field of medicine in 1928 to Charles Nicolle for discovering  that body lice were carriers of typhus fever. That was approved by successful realization of measures during the epidemic 1914/15 in Serbia. Acta Medica Medianae 2009;48(1):66-74.


Key words: Lazar Gencic, Hunter, Stammers, typhus fever epidemic, "Serbian barrel desinfector", pediculus humanus humanus, louse borne typhus