Archaic medical terms used for the
cause of death in records, journals, correspondences, etc.
Abasia - Inability to walk or stand, caused by hysteria.
Ablepsy - Blindness, also Ablepsia, Abopsia.
Abscess - A localized collection of pus buried in tissues, organs,
or confined spaces of the body, often accompanied by swelling and
inflammation and frequently caused by bacteria. The brain, lung, or
kidney (for instance) could be involved. See boil.
Accouchment - childbirth, the period after childbirth.
Acute - (adj.) disease of sudden onset, severe, not chronic.
Addison's disease - A disease characterized by severe weakness, low
blood pressure, and a bronzed coloration of the skin, due to
decreased secretion of cortisol from the adrenal gland. Dr. Thomas
Addison (1793-1860), born near Newcastle, England, described the
disease in 1855. Synonyms: Morbus addisonii, bronzed skin disease.
Aegrotat - Is sick from.
Aegrotantem - Sickness, illness.
Ague - Malarial Fever; Malarial or intermittent fever characterized
by paroxysms (stages of chills, fever, and sweating at regularly
recurring times) and followed by an interval or intermission whose
length determines the epithets: quotidian, tertian, quartan, and
quintan ague (defined in the text). Popularly, the disease was known
as "fever and ague," "chill fever," "the shakes," and by names
expressive of the locality in which it was prevalent--such as,
"swamp fever" (in Louisiana), "Panama fever," and "Chagres fever."
Ague-cake - A form of enlargement of the spleen, resulting from the
action of malaria on the system.
American plague - Yellow fever.
Anasarca - Generalized massive edema. see dropsy.
Anchylosis/ankylosis - Abnormal stiffening and immobility of a joint
by fusion of the bones.
Angina - Pain in chest brought on by exertion; intense constricting
pain especially of the throat, can lead to suffocation; quinsy.
Aphonia - Laryngitis.
Aphtha/aphthae - see thrush.
Aphthous stomatitis - see canker.
Apoplexy - Paralysis due to stroke.
Ascites - see dropsy.
Asphycsia/Asphicsia - Cyanotic and lack of oxygen.
Asthenia - see debility.
Atrophy - Wasting away or diminishing in size.
Bad Blood - Syphilis.
Bilious fever - A term loosely applied to certain enteric
(intestinal) and malarial fevers; Typhoid, malaria, hepatitis or
elevated temperature and bile emesis /fever due to a liver disorder,
Biliousness - Jaundice associated with liver disease; A complex of
symptoms comprising nausea, abdominal discomfort, headache, and
constipation; formerly attributed to excessive secretion of bile
from the liver.
Black plague/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
Blackwater fever - Dark urine associated with high temperature.
Bladder in throat - Diphtheria.
Blood poisoning - Bacterial infection; septicemia.
Bloody flux - Bloody stools; dysentry.
Bloody sweat - Sweating sickness.
Boil - An abscess of skin or painful, circumscribed inflammation of
the skin or a hair follicle, having a dead, pus-forming inner core,
usually caused by a staphylococcal infection. Synonym: furuncle.
Bone shave - Sciatica.
Brain fever - see meningitis, typhus.
Breakbone - Dengue fever.
Bright's disease - Chronic inflammatory disease of kidneys; kiddney
Bronchial asthma - A paroxysmal, often allergic disorder of
breathing, characterized by spasm of the bronchial tubes of the
lungs, wheezing, and difficulty in breathing air outward, often
accompanied by coughing and a feeling of tightness in the chest.
Bronze John - Yellow fever.
Brucellosis - bacterial disease, especially of cattle, causing
undulant fever in humans.
Bule - Boil, tumor or swelling.
Cachexy - Malnutrition.
Cacogastric - Upset stomach.
Cacospysy - Irregular pulse.
Caduceus - Subject to falling sickness or epilepsy.
Camp fever - Typhus; aka Camp diarrhea, typhoid fever.
Cancer - A malignant and invasive growth or tumor (especially tissue
that covers a surface or lines a cavity), tending to recur after
excision and to spread to other sites. In the nineteenth century,
physicians noted that cancerous tumors tended to ulcerate, grew
constantly, and progressed to a fatal end and that there was
scarcely a tissue they would not invade. Synonyms: malignant growth,
Cancrum otis - A severe, destructive, eroding ulcer of the cheek and
lip, rapidly proceeding to sloughing. In the last century it was
seen in delicate, ill-fed, ill-tended children between the ages of
two and five. The disease was the result of poor hygiene acting upon
a debilitated system. It commonly followed one of the eruptive
fevers and was often fatal. The destructive disease could, in a few
days, lead to gangrene of the lips, cheeks, tonsils, palate, tongue,
and even half the face; teeth would fall from their sockets, and a
horribly fetid saliva flowed from the parts. Synonyms: canker, water
canker, noma, gangrenous stomatitis, gangrenous ulceration of the
Canine madness - Rabies, hydrophobia.
Canker - An ulcerous sore of the mouth and lips, not considered
fatal today; herpes simplex Synonym: aphthous stomatitis. See
Catalepsy - Condition which causes Seizures/trances or
Catarrh - Inflammation of a mucous membrane, especially of the air
passages of the head and throat, with a free discharge. It is
characterized by cough, thirst, lassitude, fever, watery eyes, and
increased secretions of mucus from the air passages. Bronchial
catarrh was bronchitis; suffocative catarrh was croup; urethral
catarrh was gleet; vaginal catarrh was leukorrhea; epidemic catarrh
was the same as influenza. Synonyms: cold, coryza. Nose and throat
discharge from cold or allergy; influenza.
Cerebritis - Inflammation of cerebrum or lead poisoning.
Chilblain - Swelling of extremities caused by exposure to cold and
then heat; extremities turn black and itch unbearably.
Childbed - Childbirth.
Child bed fever - Infection following birth of a child; puerperal
Childbirth - A cause given for many female deaths of the century.
Almost all babies were born in homes and usually were delivered by a
family member or a midwife; thus infection and lack of medical skill
were often the actual causes of death.
Chin cough - Whooping cough.
Chlorosis - Iron deficiency anemia; condition of pale or greenish
skin, weakness, & dyspepsia.
Cholecystitis - Inflammation of the gall bladder.
Cholelithiasis - Stones of the gall bladder.
Cholera - An acute, infectious disease, endemic in India and China
and now occasionally epidemic elsewhere: characterized by profuse
diarrhea, vomiting, and cramps. It is caused by a potent toxin
discharged by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae, which acts on the small
intestine to cause secretion of large amounts of fluid. The
painless, watery diarrhea and the passing of rice-water stool are
characteristic. Great body-salt depletion occurs. Cholera is spread
by feces-contaminated water and food. Major epidemics struck the
United States in the years 1832, 1849, and 1866. In the 1830s the
causes were generally thought to be intemperance in the use of
ardent spirits or drinking bad water; uncleanness, poor living or
crowded and ill-ventilated dwellings; and too much fatigue. By 1850
cholera was thought to be caused by putrid animal poison and miasma
or pestilential vapor rising from swamps and marshes, or that it
entered the body through the lungs or was transmitted through the
medium of clothing. It was still believed that it attacked the poor,
the dissolute, the diseased, and the fearful, while the healthy,
well-clad, well-fed, and fearless man escaped the ravages of
Cholera infantum - A common, non-contagious diarrhea of young
children, occurring in summer or autumn. In the nineteenth century
it was considered indigenous to the United States; was prevalent
during the hot weather in most of the towns of the middle and
southern states, as well as many western areas; and was
characterized by gastric pain, vomiting, purgation, fever, and
prostration. It was common among the poor and in hand-fed babies.
Death frequently occurred in three to five days. Synonyms: summer
complaint, weaning brash, water gripes, choleric fever of children,
Cholera morbus - Characterized by nausea, vomiting, abdominal
cramps, elevated temperature, etc. Could be appendicitis
Chorea - Any of several diseases of the nervous system,
characterized by jerky movements that appear to be well coordinated
but are performed involuntarily, chiefly of the face and
extremities; convulsions, contortions and dancing. Synonym: Saint
Chronic - Persisting over a long period of time as opposed to acute
or sudden. This word was often the only one entered under "cause of
death" in the mortality schedules. The actual disease meant by the
term is open to speculation.
Cold plague - Ague which is characterized by chills.
Colic - Paroxysmal pain in the abdomen or bowels. Infantile colic is
benign paroxysmal abdominal pain during the first three months of
life. Colic rarely caused death; but in the last century a study
reported that in cases of death, intussusception (the prolapse of
one part of the intestine into the lumen of an immediately adjoining
part) occasionally occurred. Renal colic can occur from disease in
the kidney, gallstone colic from a stone in the bile duct.
Confinement - the conclusion of pregnancy; labor and childbirth.
Congestive chills - Malaria.
Consumption - A wasting away of the body; formerly applied
especially to pulmonary tuberculosis. The disorder is now known to
be an infectious disease caused by the bacterial species
Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Synonyms: marasmus (in the mid 19th
Congestion - An excessive or abnormal accumulation of blood or other
fluid in a body part, blood vessel or an organ, like the lungs.
Congestive chills. Malaria with diarrhea.
Congestive fever - Malaria Corruption Infection.
Convulsions - Severe contortion of the body caused by violent,
involuntary muscular contractions of the extremities, trunk, and
head. See epilepsy.
Coryza - A cold. see catarrh.
Costiveness - Constipation.
Cramp colic - Appendicitis.
Crop sickness - Overextended stomach.
Croup - Any obstructive condition of the larynx (voice box) or
trachea (windpipe), characterized by a hoarse, barking cough and
difficult breathing occurring chiefly in infants and children. The
obstruction could be caused by allergy, a foreign body, infection,
or new growth (tumor). In the early 19th century it was called
cynanche trachealis. The crouping noise was similar to the sound
emitted by a chicken affected with the pip, which in some parts of
Scotland was called roup; hence, probably, the term croup;
Laryngitis, diphtheria, or strep throat; a childhood illness.
Synonyms: roup, hives, choak, stuffing, rising of the lights.
Cyanosis - Dark skin color; blueness of skin caused by lack of
oxygen in blood.
Cynanche - Diseases of throat.
Cystitis - Inflammation of the bladder.
Day fever - Fever lasting one day; sweating sickness.
Debility - Abnormal bodily weakness or feebleness; decay of
strength. This was a term descriptive of a patient's condition and
of no help in making a diagnosis. Lack of movement or staying in
bed. Synonym: asthenia.
Decrepitude - Feebleness due to old age.
Delirium tremens - aka DTs; hallucination due to alcoholism.
Dengue - Infectious fever endemic to East Africa.
Dentition - Cutting of teeth, see teething.
Deplumation - Tumor of the eyelids which causes hair loss.
Diary fever - A fever that lasts one day.
Diptheria - An acute infectious disease caused by toxigenic strains
of the bacillus Corynebacterium diphtheriae, acquired by contact
with an infected person or a carrier of the disease. It was usually
confined to the upper respiratory tract (throat) and characterized
by the formation of a tough membrane (false membrane) attached
firmly to the underlying tissue that would bleed if forcibly
removed. In the nineteenth century the disease was occasionally
confused with scarlet fever and croup.
Distemper - Usually animal disease with malaise, discharge from nose
and throat, anorexia.
Dock fever - Yellow fever.
Dropsy - A contraction for hydropsy. Edema, the presence of
abnormally large amounts of fluid in intercellular tissue spaces or
body cavities. Abdominal dropsy is ascites; brain dropsy is
hydrocephalus; and chest dropsy is hydrothorax. Cardiac dropsy is a
symptom of disease of the heart and arises from obstruction to the
current of blood through the heart, lungs, or liver. Anasarca is
general fluid accumulation throughout the body. Edema
(swelling), often caused by kidney or heart disease.
Dropsy of the Brain - Encephalitis.
Dry Bellyache - Lead poisoning.
Dyscrasy - An abnormal body condition.
Dysentery - A term given to a number of disorders marked by
inflammation of the intestines (especially of the colon) and
attended by pain in the abdomen, by tenesmus (straining to defecate
without the ability to do so), and by frequent stools containing
blood and mucus. The causative agent may be chemical irritants,
bacteria, protozoa, or parasitic worms. There are two specific
varieties: (1) amebic dysentery caused by the protozoan Entamoeba
histolytica; (2) bacillary dysentery caused by bacteria of the genus
Shigella. Dysentery was one of the most severe scourges of armies in
the nineteenth century. The several forms of dysentery and diarrhea
accounted for more than one-fourth of all the cases of disease
reported during the first two years of the Civil War. Synonyms:
flux, bloody flux, contagious pyrexia (fever), frequent griping
Dysorexy - Reduced appetite.
Dyspepsia - Indigestion and heartburn. Heart attack symptoms; bad
Dysury - Difficulty in urination.
Eclampsy - A form of toxemia (toxins, or poisons, in the blood)
accompanying pregnancy, characterized by albuminuria (protein in the
urine), by hypertension (high blood pressure), and by convulsions.
In the last century, the term was used for any form of convulsion.
Ecstasy - A form of catalepsy characterixed by loss of reason.
Edema - Nephrosis; swelling of tissues. see Dropsy.
Edema of lungs - Congestive heart failure, a form of dropsy.
Eel thing - Erysipelas.
Effluvia - Exhalations or emanations, applied especially to those of
noxious character. In the mid-nineteenth century, they were called "vapours"
and distinguished into the contagious effluvia, such as rubeolar
(measles); marsh effluvia, such as miasmata; and those arising from
animals or vegetables, such as odors.
Elephantiasis - Gross enlargement of the body, especially the limbs,
due to lymphatic obstruction by a nematode parasite transmitted by
mosquitoes; a form of leprosy.
Emphysema, pulmonary - A chronic, irreversible disease of the lungs,
characterized by abnormal enlargement of air spaces in the lungs and
accompanied by destruction of the tissue lining the walls of the air
sacs. By 1900 the condition was recognized as a chronic disease of
the lungs associated with marked dyspnea (shortness of breath),
hacking cough, defective aeration (oxygenation) of the blood,
cyanosis (blue color of facial skin), and a full and rounded or
"barrel-shaped" chest. This disease is now most commonly associated
with tobacco smoking.
Encephalitis - Swelling of brain; aka sleeping sickness.
Enteric fever - see Typhoid fever.
Enterocolitis - Inflammation of the intestines.
Enteritis - Inflations of the bowels.
Epilepsy - A disorder of the nervous system, characterized either by
mild, episodic loss of attention or sleepiness (petittnal) or by
severe convulsions with loss of consciousness (grand mal). Synonyms:
falling sickness, fits.
Epitaxis - Nose bleed.
Erysipelas - An acute, febrile, infectious disease, caused by a
specific group of streptococcus bacterium and characterized by a
diffusely spreading, deep-red inflammation of the skin or mucous
membranes causing a rash with a well-defined margin; Contagious skin
disease, due to infection of the blood with vesicular bulbous
lesions. Synonyms: Rose, Saint Anthony's Fire.
Extravasted blood - Rupture of a blood vessel.
Falling sickness - see Epilepsy.
Fatty Liver - Cirrhosis of liver.
Fits - Sudden attack or seizure of muscle activity.
Flux - An excessive flow or discharge of fluid like hemorrhage or
diarrhea. see dysentry.
Flux of humour - Circulation.
French pox - Syphilis.
Furuncle - see boil.
Gangrene - Death and decay of tissue in a part of the body, usually
a limb, due to injury, disease, or failure of blood supply. Synonym:
Gathering - A collection of pus.
Glandular fever - Mononucleosis (mono).
Gleet - see catarrh.
Goitre - Enlarged thyroid gland which affects body's metabolism.
Gout - Chronic metabolic disorder affecting the joints, associated
with hypertension, uric acid in the blood and kidney disease, often
associated with a rich and fatty diet (and red wine).
Gravel - A disease characterized by multiple small calculi (stones
or concretions of mineral salts) which are formed in the kidneys,
passed along the ureters to the bladder, and expelled with the
urine. Synonym: kidney stone.
Grave's disease - Thryotoxicosis.
Great pox - Syphilis.
Green fever/sickness - Anemia.
Grippe/grip - Influenza like symptoms; the flu; influenza.
Grocer's itch - Skin disease caused by mites in sugar or flour.
Heart sickness - Condition caused by loss of salt from body.
Heat stroke - Body temperature elevates because of surrounding
environment temperature and body does not perspire to reduce
temperature. Coma and death result if not reversed.
Hectical complaint - A daily recurring fever with profound sweating,
chills, and flushed Hectic Fever appearance, often associated with
pulmonary tuberculosis or septic poisoning.
Hematemesis - Vomiting blood.
Hematuria - Bloody urine.
Hemiplegy - Paralysis of one side of body.
Hip gout - Osteomylitis.
Hives - A skin eruption of weals (smooth, slightly elevated areas on
the skin) which is redder or paler than the surrounding skin. Often
attended by severe itching, it usually changes its size or shape or
disappears within a few hours. It is the dermal evidence of allergy.
See the discussion under croup; also called cynanche trachealis. In
the mid-nineteenth century, hives was a commonly given cause of
death of children three years and under. Because true hives does not
kill, croup was probably the actual cause of death in those
Horrors - Delirium tremens.
Hospital Fever - see typhus.
Hydrocephalus - Enlarged head, water on the brain; dropsy of the
brain. see dropsy.
Hydropericardium - Heart dropsy.
Hydrophobia - Rabies; fear of water.
Hydrothroax - Dropsy in the chest. see dropsy.
Hypertrophic - Enlargement of organ, like the heart.
Hypertropy of heart - Enlarged heart.
Hysteria - Wild uncontrollable emotion, excitement, functional
dusturbance of the nervous system.
Icterus - see jaundice.
Impetigo - Contagious skin disease charac terized by pustules.
Inanition - Exhaustion from lack of nourishment; starvation. A
condition characterized by marked weakness, extreme weight loss, and
a decrease in metabolism resulting from severe and prolonged
(usually weeks to months) insufficiency of food.
Infantile paralysis - Polio.
Infection - The affection or contamination of a person, organ, or
wound with invading, multiplying, disease-producing germs (such as
bacteria, rickettsiae, viruses, molds, yeasts, and protozoa). In the
early part of the last century, infections were thought to be the
propagation of disease by effluvia (see above) from patients crowded
together. "Miasms" were believed to be substances which could not be
seen in any form, emanations not apparent to the senses. Such miasms
were understood to act by infection.
Inflammation - Redness, swelling, pain, tenderness, heat, and
disturbed function of an area of the body, especially as a reaction
of tissue to injurious agents. This mechanism serves as a localized
and protective response to injury. The word ending -itis denotes
inflammation on the part indicated by the word stem to which it is
attached, as in: appendicitis, pleuritis, etc. Microscopically, it
involves a complex series of events, including enlargement of the
sizes of blood vessels; discharge of fluids, including plasma
proteins; and migration of leukocytes (white blood cells) into the
inflammatory focus. In the last century, cause of death often was
listed as inflammation of a body organ, such as brain or lung, but
this was purely a descriptive term and is not helpful in identifying
the actual underlying disease.
Intestinal colic - Abdominal pain due to bad or improper diet.
Intussusception - The slipping of one part within another, as the
prolapse of one part of the intestine into the lumen of an
immediately adjoining part. This leads to obstruction and often must
be relieved by surgery. Synonym: introsusception.
Jail fever - see typhus.
Jaundice - Yellow discoloration of the skin, whites of the eyes, and
mucous membranes, due to an increase of bile pigments in the blood -
often symptomatic of certain diseases, such as hepatitis,
obstruction of the bile duct, or cancer of the liver; Condition
caused by blockage of intestines (common in newborn babies) Synonym:
Kidney Stone - see gravel.
King's evil - A popular name for scrofula. The name originated in
the time of Edward the Confessor, with the belief that the disease
could be cured by the touch of the king of England. Tuberculosis of
neck and lymph glands.
Kruchhusten - Whooping cough.
Lagrippe - Influenza.
Lockjaw - Tetanus, an infectious disease affecting the muscles of
the neck and jaw in which the jaw beomes firmlt locked. Untreated,
it is fatal in 8 days. Synonyms: trismus, tetanus.
Lues disease - Syphilis.
Lues venera - Venereal disease; sexually transmitted disease (STD).
Lumbago - Back pain.
Lung fever - Pneumonia.
Lung sickness - Tuberculosis.
Lying in - Time of delivery of infant.
Malignant Fever - see typhus.
Malignant sore throat - see Diphtheria.
Mania - Insanity.
Marasmus - Malnutrition occurring in infants and young children,
caused by an insufficient intake of calories or protein and
characterized by thinness, dry skin, poor muscle development, and
irritability. In the mid-nineteenth century, specific causes were
associated with specific ages: In infants under twelve months old,
the causes were believed to be unsuitable food, chronic vomiting,
chronic diarrhea, and inherited syphilis. Between one and three
years, marasmus was associated with rickets or cancer. After the age
of three years, caseous (cheese-like) enlargement of the mesenteric
glands (located in the peritoneal fold attaching the small intestine
to the body wall) became a given cause of wasting. After the
sixth year, chronic pulmonary tuberculosis appeared to be the major
cause. Marasmus is now considered to be related to kwashiorkor, a
severe protein deficiency.
Membranous Croup - Diphtheria.
Meningitis - Inflammation of the meninges (the three membranes
covering the brain and spinal cord), especially of the pia mater and
arachnoid, caused by a bacterial or viral infection and
characterized high fever, severe headache, and stiff neck or back
muscles. Synonym: brain fever.
Metritis - Inflammation of uterus or purulent vaginal discharge.
Miasma - Poisonous vapors thought to infect the air.
Milk fever - Disease from drinking contaminated milk; fever which
effects lactating women (mastitis?).
Milk leg - Post partum thrombophlebitis.
Milk sickness - Disease from milk of cattle which had eaten
Morbus - Latin word for disease. In the last century, when applied
to a particular disease, morbus was associated with some qualifying
adjective or noun, indicating the nature or seat of such disease.
Examples: morbus cordis, heart disease; morbus caducus, epilepsy or
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.
Nepritis - Inflammation of kidneys.
Nervous prostration - Extreme exhaustion from inability to control
physical and mental activities.
Neuralgia - Sharp and paroxysmal pain along the course of a sensory
nerve. There are many causes: anemia, diabetes, gout, malaria,
syphilis. Many varieties of neuralgia are distinguished according to
the part affected, such as face, arm, leg.
Nostalgia - Homesickness.
Palsy - Paralysis or uncontrolled movement of controlled muscles;
loss of muscle control.
Paristhmitis - see quinsy.
Paroxysm - Convulsion.
Pemphigus - Skin disease of watery blisters.
Pericarditis - Inflammation of heart.
Peripneumonia - Inflammation of lungs.
Peritonotis - Inflammation of abdominal area.
Petechial Fever - Fever characterized by spotting of the skin. see
Phthiriasis - Lice infestation.
Phthisis - Chronic wasting away due to ,or a name for, tuberculosis
or consumption. see consumption.
Plague - An acute febrile highly infectious disease with a high
Pleurisy - Inflammation of the pleura, the membranous sac lining the
chest cavity, with or without fluid collected in the pleural cavity.
Symptoms are chills, fever, dry cough, and pain in the affected side
Pneumonia - Inflammation of the lungs with congestion or
consolidation, caused by viruses, bacteria, or physical and chemical
Podagra - Gout.
Poliomyelitis - Polio.
Potter's asthma - Fibroid pthisis.
Pott's disease - Tuberculosis of spine.
Puerperal exhaustion - Death due to child birth.
Puerperal fever - Elevated temperature after giving birth to an
infant; septic poisoning associated with child birth.
Puking fever - Milk sickness.
Pus - A yellow-white, more or less viscid substance found in
abscesses and sores, consisting of a liquid plasma in which white
blood cells are formed and suspended by the process of inflammation.
Putrid fever - Diphtheria; typhus. see typhus.
Putrid sore throat - Ulceration of an acute form, attacking the
tonsils and rapidly running into sloughing of the fauces (the cavity
at the back of the mouth, leading to the pharynx).
Pyrexia - see dysentry.
Quinsy - (streptococcal) Tonsillitis; A fever, or a febrile
condition. An acute inflammation of the tonsils, often leading to an
abscess; peritonsillar abscess. Synonyms: suppurative tonsillitis,
cynanche tonsillaris, paristhmitis, sore throat.
Remitting fever - Malaria.
Rheumatism - Any disorder associated with pain in joints.
Rickets - Disease of skeletal system caused by vitamin D deficiency.
Rose cold - Hay fever or nasal symptoms of an allergy.
Rotanny fever - (Child's disease) ???
Rubeola - German measles.
Sanguineous crust - Scab.
Scarlatina - Scarlet fever. A contagious febrile disease, caused by
infection with the bacteria group. A beta-hemolytic streptococci
(which elaborate a toxin with an affinity for red blood cells) and
characterized by a scarlet eruption, tonsillitis, and pharyngitis.
Scarlet fever - A disease characterized by red rash. see Scarlatina.
Scarlet rash - Roseola.
Sciatica - Rheumatism in the hips.
Scirrhus - Cancerous tumors.
Scotomy - Dizziness, nausea and dimness of sight.
Scrivener's palsy - Writer's cramp.
Screws - Rheumatism.
Scrofula - Primary tuberculosis of the lymphatic glands, especially
those in the neck. A disease of children and young adults, it
represents a direct extension of tuberculosis into the skin from
underlying lymph nodes. It evolves into cold abscesses, multiple
skin ulcers, and draining sinus tracts. Synonym: king's evil.
Scrumpox - Skin disease, impetigo.
Scurvy - Lack of vitamin C. Symptoms of weakness, spongy gums and
hemorrhages under skin.
Septic - Infected, a condition of local or generalized invasion of
the body by disease-causing microorganisms (germs) or their toxins.
Septicemia - Blood poisoning.
Shakes - Delirium tremens.
Shaking - Chills, ague.
Shingles - Viral disease characterized by skin blisters (closely
related to chickenpox - cannot get shingles unless previously
affected by chickenpox. often brought on by stress. most commonly
the blisteres develope on the back - extremely itching),
Ship fever - see Typhus.
Siriasis - Inflammation of the brain due to sun exposure.
Sloes - Milk sickness.
Small pox - Contagious disease characterized by fever and blisters.
Softening of brain - Result of stroke or hemorrhage in the brain,
with an end result of the tissue softening in that area; apoplexy.
Sore throat distemper - Diphtheria or quinsy.
Spanish influenza - An epidemic influenza.
Spasms - Sudden involuntary contraction of muscle or group of
muscles, like a convulsion.
Spina bifida - Deformity of spine.
Spotted fever - Either typhus or meningitis; cerebrospinal
meningitis fever. see Typhus.
Sprue - Tropical disease characterized by intestinal disorders and
St. Anthony's fire - Also erysipelas, but named so because of
affected skin areas are bright red in appearance.
St. Vitus' dance - Ceaseless occurrence of rapid complex jerking
movements performed involuntarily. see chorea.
Stomatitis - Inflammation of the mouth.
Stranger's fever - Yellow fever.
Strangery - Rupture.
Sudor anglicus - Sweating sickness.
Suffocation - The stoppage of respiration. In the nineteenth
century, suffocation was reported as being accidental or homicidal.
The accidents could be by the impaction of pieces of food or other
obstacles in the pharynx or by the entry of foreign bodies into the
larynx (as a seed, coin, or food). Suffocation of newborn children
by smothering under bedclothes may have happened from carelessness
as well as from intent. However, the deaths also could have been due
to SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome), wherein the sudden and
unexpected death of an apparently healthy infant, while asleep,
typically occurs between the ages of three weeks and five months and
is not explained by careful postmortem studies. Synonyms of SIDS:
crib death and cot death. It was felt that victims of homicidal
suffocation were chiefly infants or feeble and infirm persons.
Summer complaint - Diarrhea, usually in infants caused by spoiled
milk. see Cholera infantum.
Sunstroke - Uncontrolled elevation of body temperature due to
environment heat. Lack of sodium in the body is a predisposing
Suppuration - The production of pus.
Swamp sickness - Could be malaria, typhoid or encephalitis.
Sweating sickness - Infectious and fatal disease common to UK in
Tabes mesenterica - Tuberculosis of the mesenteric glands in
children, resulting in digestive derangement and wasting of the
Teething - The entire process which results in the eruption of the
teeth. Nineteenth-century medical reports stated that infants were
more prone to disease at the time of teething. Symptoms were
restlessness, fretfulness, convulsions, diarrhea, and painful and
swollen gums. The latter could be relieved by lancing over the
protruding tooth. Often teething was reported as a cause of death in
infants. Perhaps they became susceptible to infections, especially
if lancing was performed without antisepsis. Another explanation of
teething as a cause of death is that infants were often weaned at
the time of teething; perhaps they then died from drinking
contaminated milk, leading to an infection, or from malnutrition if
watered-down milk was given.
Tetanus - An infectious, often-fatal disease caused by a specific
bacterium, Clostridium tetani, that enters the body through wounds;
characterized by respiratory paralysis, high fever, and tonic spasms
and rigidity of the voluntary muscles, especially those of the neck
and lower jaw. Synonyms: trismus, lockjaw.
Thrombosis - Blood clot inside blood vessel.
Thrush - A disease characterized by whitish spots and ulcers on the
membranes of the mouth, tongue, and fauces caused by a parasitic
fungus, Candida albicans. Thrush usually affects sick, weak infants
and elderly individuals in poor health. Now it is a common
complication from excessive use of broad-spectrum antibiotics or
cortisone treatment. Synonyms: aphthae, sore mouth, aphthous
Thyrotoxicosis - A disease affecting the thyroid gland.
Tick fever - Rocky mountain spotted fever.
Toxemia (of pregnancy) - see Eclampsia.
Trench mouth - Painful ulcers found along gum line, caused by poor
nutrition and poor hygiene.
Trismus nascentium/neonatorum - A form of tetanus seen only in
infants, almost invariably in the first five days of life, probably
due to infection of the umbilical stump.
Tussis convulsiva - Whooping cough.
Typhoid fever - An infectious, often-fatal, febrile disease, usually
occurring in the summer months, characterized by intestinal
inflammation and ulceration caused by the bacterium Salmonella typhi,
which is usually introduced by food or drink. Symptoms include
prolonged hectic fever, malaise, transient characteristic skin rash
(rose spots), abdominal pain, enlarged spleen, slowness of heart
rate, delirium, and low white-blood cell count. The name came from
the disease's similarity to typhus (see below). Synonym: enteric
Typhus - An acute, infectious disease caused by several
micro-organism species of Rickettsia (transmitted by lice and fleas)
and characterized by acute prostration, high fever, depression,
delirium, headache, and a peculiar eruption of reddish spots on the
body. The epidemic or classic form is louse borne; the endemic or
murine is flea borne. Synonyms: typhus fever, malignant fever (in
the 1850s), jail fever, hospital fever, ship fever, putrid fever,
brain fever, bilious fever, spotted fever, petechial fever, camp
Undulant Fever - Intermittant fever caused by brucellosis. also
called abortus fever.
Variola - Smallpox.
Venesection - Bleeding.
Viper's dance - St. Vitus' Dance.
Virus - An ultramicroscopic, metabolically inert infectious agent
that replicates only within the cells of living hosts, mainly
bacteria, plants, and animals. In the early 1800s virus meant
poison, venom, or contagion.
Water on brain - Enlarged head.
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.
Yellow fever - An acute, often-fatal, infectious febrile disease of
warm climates, caused by a virus transmitted by mosquitoes,
especially Aledes aegypti, and characterized by liver damage and
jaundice, fever, and protein in the urine. In 1900 Walter Reed and
others in Panama found that mosquitoes transmit the disease.
Clinicians in the late nineteenth century recognized "specific
yellow fever" as being different from "malarious yellow fever." The
latter supposedly was a form of malaria with liver involvement but
without urine involvement. See epidemics for major outbreaks.
Yellowjacket - Yellow fever.