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Illinois Genealogy Trails

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 Jefferson County Illinois
Old Diseases

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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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