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Old Time Diseases ...Submitted by Libby Preston.

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. 


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
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
Cholera morbus Characterized by nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps,
     elevated temperature, etc.  Could be appendicitis
Chorea Disease characterized by convulsions, contortions and
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
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
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
Syphilis Lues disease or Venereal disease
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
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
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 &
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

Also see Kathy Hamilton's Floyd County, KY pages for a more extensive list: