Illnesses in the 19th century

Specific illnesses that are relevant to the plot in one novel or the other include

current day designation

19th century terms


bronchitiscatarrh, croupinflammation of the lining of the bronchial tubes
carbuncleboils, furuncleabscess of the skin
cholerasummer complaintacute, infectious disease characterized by cramps, watery diarrhea, and vomiting
diphtheriasour throat, putrid sore throatcontagious upper respiratory tract illness characterized by a sore throat and low fever; often fatal in children
dysenterybloody fluxinflammation of the intestines caused by a chemical irritant, bacteria, or parasites
edema, ascitiesdropsyfluid buildup in the abdomen
encephalitis, meningitisbrain fever
epilepsyfalling sicknessa central nervous system (neurological) disorder in which brain activity becomes abnormal, causing seizures
gangrenemortificationbacterial infection of tissues
malariaague, remittent fever, intermittent feverAn infectious disease characterized by cycles of chills, fever, and sweating


whooping coughhighly contagious respiratory disease

known for uncontrollable, violent coughing

pneumonialung feveran infection of the lungs
puerperal feverchildbed feverinfection, usually streptococcal, in the birth canal often fatal
smallpoxpoxa contagious, disfiguring and often deadly disease, viral
strep infectionsputrid sore throat, quinsy, rheumatic fever, scarlatina, mortification,
syphilisFrench disease, poxsexually transmitted
tetanuslockjawinfectious disease of the central nervous system
tuberculosisconsumption, phthisis
typhoid fevertyphoidcontagious disease of
typhuscamp fever, bilious fever
yellow feveryellow jackviral hemorrhagic disease.


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