OLD TIME DISEASES

Have you ever wondered what those old time diseases were? Anyone who has done genealogy research and obtained copies of death certificates has seen comments like Bloody Flux, chilblains, whooping cough, etc. Below is a listing of various old time diseases that may make reading that death certificate a little easier. 

 Old Time Diseases ...Submitted by Kiowana Hayes Ferguson
 

Ablepsy Blindness 

Ague Malarial Fever 

American plague Yellow Fever 

Anasarca Generalized massive edema 

Aphonia Laryngitis 

Aphtha The infant disease thrush 

Apoplexy Paralysis due to stroke 

Asphycsia/Asphicsia Cyanotic and lack of oxygen 
 

Bad Blood Syphilis 

Bilious fever Typhoid, malaria, hepatitis or elevated temperature and bile emesis 

Black plague or death Bubonic plague 

Black fever Acute infection with high temperature and dark red skin lesions and high mortality rate 

Black pox Black Small pox 

Black vomit Vomiting old black blood due to ulcers or Yellow Fever 

Blackwater fever Dark urine associated with high temperature 

Bladder in the throat Diphtheria 

Bloody flux Bloody stools 

Bloody sweat Sweating sickness 

Bone shave Sciatica 

Bronze John Yellow Fever 

Bule Boil tumor or swelling
 

Cachexy Malnutrition 

Cacospysy Irregular pulse 

Caduceus Subject to falling sickness or epilepsy 

Camp fever Typhus; aka Camp diarrhea 

Canine madness Rabies, hydrophobia 

Cerebritis Inflammation of cerebrum or lead poisoning 

Chilblain Swelling of extremities caused by exposure to cold 

Chin cough Whooping cough

Chlorosis Iron deficiency anemia 

Cholera Acute severe contagious diarrhea with intestinal lining sloughing 

Cholera morbus Characterized by nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, elevated temperature, etc. Could be appendicitis 

Chorea Disease characterized by convulsions, contortions and dancing 

Cold plague Ague which is characterized by chills Congestive chills Malaria 

Consumption Tuberculosis 

Congestive chills Malaria with diarrhea 

Congestive fever Malaria 

Coryza A cold 

Costiveness Constipation 

Cramp colic Appendicitis 

Crop sickness Overextended stomach 

Cynanche Throat Disease 
 

Debility Lack of movement or staying in bed 

Decrepitude Feebleness due to old age 

Deplumation Tumor of the eyelids which causes hair loss 

Diary fever A fever that lasts one day 

Diphtheria Contagious disease of the throat 

Dock Fever Yellow Fever 

Dropsy Edema (swelling), often caused by kidney or heart disease 

Dry Bellyache Lead poisoning 

Dysentery Inflammation of colon with frequent passage of mucous and blood 

Dysorexy Reduced appetite 

Dysury Difficulty in urination 
 

Ecstasy A form of catalepsy characterized by loss of reason 

Eel thing Erysipelas 

Edema Nephrosis; swelling of tissues & Edema of lungs is Congestive heart failure, a form of dropsy

Elephantiasis A form of leprosy 

Enteric fever Typhoid Fever 

Enterocolitis Inflammation of the intestines 

Enteritis Inflations of the bowels 

Epitaxis Nose bleed 

Erysipelas Contagious skin disease, due to Streptococci with vesicular & bulbous lesions 

Extravasted blood Rupture of a blood vessel 
 

Falling sickness Epilepsy Fits Sudden attack or seizure of muscle activity 

Flux An excessive flow or discharge of fluid like hemorrhage or diarrhea 

French pox Syphilis 
 

Gravel Kidney or Gallstones 

Great pox Syphilis 

Green fever or sickness Anemia 

Grippe Influenza like symptoms 

Grocer's itch Skin disease caused by mites in sugar or flour 
 

Heart sickness Condition caused by loss of salt from body 

Hectical complaint Recurrent fever 

Hip gout Osteomylitis 

Horrors Delirium tremens 

Hydrocephalus Enlarged head, water on the brain 

Hydropericardium Heart dropsy 

Hydrophobia Rabies 

Hydrothroax Dropsy in chest 

Hypertrophic Enlargement of organ, like the heart 
 

Impetigo Contagious skin disease characterized by pustules 

Inanition Physical condition resulting from lack of food 
 

Jail fever Typhus 

Jaundice Condition caused by blockage of intestines 
 

King's Evil Tuberculosis of neck and lymph glands 

Kruchhusten Whooping cough 
 

Lagrippe Influenza 

Lockjaw Tetanus or infectious disease affecting the muscles of the neck and jaw if untreated, it is fatal in 8 days 

Long sickness Tuberculosis 

Lues disease or Venereal disease venera 

Lumbago Back pain 

Lung fever Pneumonia 

Lung sickness Tuberculosis 

Lying in Time of delivery of infant 
 

Malignant sore throat Diphtheria 

Marasmus Progressive wasting away of body, like malnutrition 

Membranous Croup Diphtheria 

Meningitis Inflammation of brain or spinal cord 

Metritis Inflammation of uterus or purulent vaginal discharge 

Miasma Poisonous vapors thought to infect the air 

Milk Fever, undulant fever Disease from drinking contaminated milk or brucellosis 

Milk leg Post partum thrombophlebitis 

Milk sickness Disease caused by drinking milk from cows which had eaten poisonous weeds 

Mormal Gangrene 

Morphew Scurvy blisters on the body 

Mortification Gangrene of necrotic tissue 

Myelitis Inflammation of the spine 

Myocarditis Inflammation of heart muscles 
 

Necrosis Mortification of bones or tissue 

Nephrosis Kidney degeneration 

Nephritis Inflammation of kidneys 

Nervous prostration Extreme exhaustion from inability to control physical and mental activities 
 

Pemphigus Skin disease of watery blisters 

Pericarditis Inflammation of heart 

Peripneumonia Inflammation of lungs 

Peritonotis Inflammation of abdominal area 

Petechial Fever Fever characterized by skin spotting 

Phthiriasis Lice infestation 

Plague An acute febrile highly infectious disease with a high fatality rate 

Pleurisy Any pain in the chest area with each breath 

Podagra Gout 

Polio Potter's Asthma Fibroid Pthisis (Chronic wasting away or another name for tuberculosis) 

Pott's Disease Tuberculosis of the Spine Puerperal Exhaustion Death due to childbirth 

Puerperal Fever Elevated temperature after giving birth 

Puking Fever Milk Sickness 

Putrid Fever Diphtheria Quinsy Tonsillitis Remitting Fever Malaria 
 

Rheumatism Pain in the joints 

Rose cold Hay fever 

Rottany Fever A form of child's fever 

Rubeola German Measles 
 

Sanguineous crust Scab 

Scarlatina or Scarlet Fever A disease characterized by a red rash 

Scarlet Rash Roseola 

Scirrhus Cancerous tumors 

Scotomy Dizziness, nausea & dimness of sight 

Scrivener's Palsy Writer's cramp 

Screws Rheumatism 

Scrofula Tuberculosis of the neck lymph glands 

Scrumpox Skin disease or impetigo 

Scurvy Lack of vitamin C 

Septicemia Blood poisoning 

Shakes Delirium tremens (DT's) 

Shaking Chills or ague 

Siriasis Inflammation of the brain caused by sun exposure 

Ship fever Typhus 

Sloes Milk sickness 

Smallpox Contagious disease with fever & blisters 

Softening of the brain Stroke or hemorrhage in the brain resulting in softening of the tissue in that area 

Sore throat distemper Diphtheria or quinsy Spanish influenza 

Spotted fever Typhus or meningitis 

Sprue Tropical disease characterized by intestinal disorders and sore throat 

St. Anthony's fire or Named because the affected areas of the skin are bright red in Erysipelas appearance 

St. Vitas or Viper's Dance Involuntary rapid jerking movements that don't cease 

Stomatitis Inflammation of the mouth 

Stranger's fever Yellow Fever 

Strangery Rupture 

Sudor anglicus Sweating sickness (see below) 

Summer complaint Diarrhea, usually caused by spoiled milk 

Swamp sickness Malaria, typhoid or encephalitis 

Sweating sickness Infectious & fatal disease common to United Kingdom in the 15th century 
 

Tussis Convulsiva Whooping Cough 

Typhus (Typhoid Fever) Infectious fever characterized by high fever, headache & dizziness 
 

Variola Smallpox 
 

White swelling Tuberculosis of the bone 

Winter fever Pneumonia 

Womb fever Infection of the uterus 

Worm fit Convulsions associated with teething, worms, elevated temperature or diarrhea 
 

Yellowjacket Yellow fever 

 


 
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