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Common Diseases During The American Civil War

ASTHENIA
A weakness or debility.

BILIOUS REMITTENT FEVER
An 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 name 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
An inflammation of the heart.

CATARRH
An inflammation of the mucous membranes with an increased flow of mucus.

CONSUMPTION
Tuberculosis (also called Phthisis).

DIPHTHERIA
An acute bacterial illness characterized by a sore throat and fever; serious and even fatal complications can occur.

DROPSY
An archaic word for edema; the 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
An 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
A forming an abnormal hollow passage from an abscess or cavity to the skin or an organ.

HYPERTROPHY
Enlargement.

NEPHRITIS
An 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
An 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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