World War I hit Italy from different perspectives. The one here described under an historical point of view regards the health of military and civil population, with a special focus on infective diseases. The 20th Century was the fuse of degeneration and eugenetics theories; which grew in the melée of war and technological innovation. Indeed, war is interestingly depicted as an entity capable of emphasizing the differences between those who wore a uniform and those who did not. As a matter of fact, some infections spared the civilian population while others felt with greater vengeance on this subgroup. Moreover, the incidence of different feared diseases was brought back to the rates of the late 19th Century. Thanks to a statistician, Giorgio Mortara (1885-1967) the impact of infective diseases in Wolrd War I on Italian demography is well established. Moreover, different military and civilian sources contribute to enrich the picture of the consequences of war. In conclusion World War I could see considered as a litmus paper. The litmus paper of successes and failures of italian public health management to face new medical challenges exacerbated by the crisis.
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