Civil War Diseases



ASTHENIA: Weakness or debility.

BILIOUS REMITTENT FEVER: Archaic term for relapsing fever characterized by bilious vomiting and diarrhea.

CAMP FEVER: This term was used for all of the continuing fevers experienced by the army: Typhoid Fever, Malarial Remittent Fever, and Typho-malarial Fever. The last named is a combination of elements from the first two diseases. This combination, Typho-malarial Fever, was the characteristic "camp fever" during the Civil War. Symptoms included: a pronounced chill followed by an intermittent fever, abdominal tenderness and nausea, general debility, diarrhea, retention of urine, and furring of the tongue.

CARDITIS: Inflammation of the heart.

CATARRH: Inflammation of the mucous membranes with increased flow of mucous.

CONSUMPTION: Tuberculosis (also called Phthisis).

DIPHTHERIA: Acute bacterial illness characterized by sore throat and fever; serious and even fatal complications can occur.

DROPSY: Archaic word for edema; abnormal accumulation of fluid in cells, tissues, or cavities of the body.

DYSENTERY: Various intestinal diseases with inflammation of the bowels, abdominal pain, and bloody diarrhea.

ENDOCARDITIS: Inflammation of the heart.

ERYSIPELAS: Acute inflammation of the skin and subcutaneous tissue caused by streptococcus bacteria; characterized by reddening and severe inflammation, can lead to pustules. Usually accompanied by severe constitutional symptoms.

FISTULA: Forming an abnormal hollow passage from an abscess or cavity to the skin or an organ.

HYPERTROPHY: Enlargement.

NEPHRITIS: Inflammation of the kidneys.

PHTHISIS: Tuberculosis (also called Consumption).

PILES: Hemorrhoids.

PLEURITIS (PLEURISY): Inflammation of the membrane enveloping the lungs.

RHEUMATIC FEVER: Infectious disease causing fever, pain, swelling of the joints, and inflammation of the valves of the heart.

RHEUMATISM: Chronic inflammation of the joints; also an obsolete term for rheumatic fever.

RUBEOLA: Measles.

ST. VITAS DANCE: Disorder of the central nervous system characterized by involuntary jerky movements, usually follows an attack of rheumatic fever; now called Sydenham's Chorea.

SCORBUTIC ULCERS: Ulcers caused by scurvy.

SCROFULA: Tuberculosis of the lymphatic glands especially of the neck, characterized by the enlargement and degeneration of the glands.

SCURVY: A disease marked by debility, anemia, edema, and ulceration of the gums, due to a lack of Vitamin C.

SMALLPOX: An acute, eruptive, contagious disease caused by a virus and marked by an onset of chills, high fever, backache and headache. Skin eruptions appear in two to five days.

SYPHILIS: A venereal disease caused by a spirochete which consists of three phases. PRIMARY: Characterized by a hard chancre on the genitals; SECONDARY: Characterized by eruptions on the skin and mucous membranes and the generalized enlargement of the lymph nodes; TERTIARY: Characterized by the infection and disablement of bones, muscles, and nerve tissue.

TUBERCULOSIS: Infectious disease causing tubercles in the lungs, characterized by fever, weakness, and emaciation.

TYPHOID FEVER: Acute infectious disease characterized by continued rising fever, physical and mental depression, rose-colored spots, loss of appetite, and dry mouth with furred tongue.

TYPHOID PNEUMONIA: Pneumonia as a complication of typhoid fever.

TYPHUS: A group of acute infectious diseases characterized by severe fever, chills, weakness, joint ache and headache. Similar to Typhoid Fever. See Camp Fever.



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