Donna Cooper

Donna Cooper

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Illnesses As Named In Death Certificates and Obits

For Genealogy Medical Terms of Yesterday 


Terms that are sometimes seen on death certificates or in old newspapers.


1. Apoplexy - Paralysis from stroke (Sometimes it will be spelled incorrectly - appoplexy)
2. Bilious fever - Typhoid, malaria, or hepatitis
3. Biliousness - Jaundice from liver disease
4. Black plague or death - Bubonic plague
5. Black fever - Acute infection with high fever and red skin lesions
6. Black vomit - Vomiting blood, black blood due to ulcers or yellow fever
7. Black water fever - Dark urine with high temperature
8. Bladder in throat - Diphtheria
9. Blood poisoning - Bacterial infection or septicemia
10. Bloody flux - Bloody stools
11. Bloody sweat - Sweating sickness
12. Brain fever - Meningitis
13. Bright's disease - Chronic inflammatory disease of kidneys
14. Bronze John - Yellow fever
15. Bule - Boil, tumor or swelling
16. Camp fever - Typhus or Camp diarrhea
17. Canine madness - Rabies
18. Canker - Ulceration of mouth or lips or herpes simplex
19. Cerebritis - Inflammation of cerebrum or lead poisoning
20 Child bed fever - Infection following child birth
21. Chin cough - Whooping cough
22. Cholera - Acute, severe, contagious diarrhea with intestinal lining sloughing
23. Chorea - Disease characterized by convulsions, contortions and dancing
24. Cold plague - Ague characterized by chills
25. Colic - An abdominal pain and cramping
26. Confinement - Death as the result of the confinement of childbirth. During and after.
27. Congestive chills - Malaria
28. Consumption - Tuberculosis
29. Congestive chills - Malaria with diarrhea
30. Congestive fever - Malaria
31. Corruption - Infection
32. Cramp colic - Appendicitis
33. Croup - Laryngitis, diphtheria, or sore throat
34. Cystitis - Inflammation of the bladder
35. Day fever - Fever lasting one day; sweating sickness
36. Decrepitude - Feebleness from old age
37. Dentition - Cutting of teeth
38. Diary fever - A fever that lasts one day
39. Dock fever - Yellow fever
40. Dropsy - Edema (swelling), often caused by kidney or heart disease
41. Dropsy of the Brain - Encephalitis
42. Dry Bellyache - Lead poisoning
43. Edema of lungs - Congestive heart failure, also a form of dropsy
44. Enteric fever - Typhoid fever
45. Falling sickness - Epilepsy
46. Fatty Liver - Cirrhosis of liver
47. Fits - Sudden attack or seizure of muscle activity, epilepsy
48. Flux - An excessive flow or discharge of fluid like hemorrhage or diarrhea
49. French pox - Syphilis or great pox
50. Gathering - A collection of pus
51. Green fever - Anemia
52. Grippe or grip - Influenza like symptoms
53. Grocer's itch - Skin disease caused by mites in sugar or flour
54. Heart sickness - Condition caused by loss of salt from body
55. King's evil - Tuberculosis of neck and lymph glands
56. Horrors - Delirium tremens
57. Hydrophobia - Rabies
58. Impetigo - also called summer sores. It was a contagious skin disease with by pustules
59. Jaundice - Condition caused by a liver disease
60. Lockjaw - Tetanus or infectious disease affecting the muscles of the neck and jaw.
71. Long sickness - Tuberculosis
72. Lung fever - Pneumonia
73. Lung sickness - Tuberculosis
74. Malignant sore throat - Diphtheria
75. Mania - Insanity
76. Meningitis - Inflations of brain or spinal cord
77. Milk leg - swelling of the leg after the birth of a child
78. Nephrites - Inflammation of kidneys - [I've seen Bright's Disease used as Nephrites.]
79. Palsy - Paralysis or uncontrolled movement of controlled muscles
80. Puerperal exhaustion - Death from child birth
81. Phthisis - Chronic wasting away another name for tuberculosis
82. Plague- An acute febrile highly infectious disease
83. Pleurisy - pains in the chest area
84. Pott's disease - Tuberculosis of spine
85. Puerperal exhaustion - Death from childbirth
86. Puking fever - Milk sickness
87. Putrid fever - Diphtheria
88. Quinsy - Tonsillitis
89. Rheumatism - A disorder associated with pain in joints
90. Rickets - Disease of skeletal system
91. Rose cold - Hay fever or nasal symptoms of an allergy
92. Rubella - German measles, hard measles, & red measles
93. Scarlatina - Scarlet fever
94. Scarlet fever - A disease with a red rash
95. Scarlet rash - Roseola
96. Sciatica - Rheumatism in the hips
97. Screws - Rheumatism
98. Scrum pox - Summer Sores, impetigo
99. Scurvy - Lack of vitamin C
100. Ship fever - Typhus
101. Sloes - Milk sickness
102. Small pox - Contagious disease with fever and blisters
103. Sore throat distemper - Diphtheria or quinsy
104. Spanish influenza - Epidemic influenza
105. Spotted fever - Either typhus or meningitis
106. St. Vitas dance - jerking movements involuntary
107. Stranger's fever - Yellow fever
108. Swamp sickness - Could be malaria, typhoid or encephalitis
109. Tetanus - Infectious fever with high fever, headache and dizziness
110. Thrombosis - Blood clot inside blood 
111. Vessel Thrush - red spots in the mouth
112. Tick fever - Rocky mountain spotted fever
113. Trench mouth - ulcers along gum line, caused by poor nutrition & hygiene
114. Typhus - Infectious fever with high fever, headache, and dizziness
115. Viper's dance - St. Vitus Dance
116. Water on brain - Enlarged head
117. White swelling - Tuberculosis of the bone
118. Winter fever - Pneumonia
119. Womb fever - Infection of the uterus
120. Worm fit - Convulsions associated with teething or from worms
121. Yellow ganders - hepatitis
122. Yellow jacket - Yellow fever 

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