Before war in the twentieth century, disease was the number one killer of combatants. However, recent studies show the number of deaths from disease was close to 750,000. Crowded conditions, poor hygiene, absence of sanitary disposal of garbage and human waste, inadequate diets, and no specific disease treatments was a formula for disaster.
Infection was the curse of the wounded soldier. No matter how slight a wound, once the skin was broken the chances were good that a deadly bacterial infestation would lead to drastic therapies, multiple operations, amputations and frequently death. Hospitals were filled with patients slowly healing over months and then a secondary infection would take hold.