Search billions of records on Ancestry.com
   

 

Disease terminology &

Control of Communicable Diseases

 

It has come to my attention that in a few cases gravestone may list the cause of death.  Although this is not of the norm, we do find some of the items listed below on old and newer death certificates.  The collection below is taken from various sources.  Some of the information is taken from Rules and Regulation for the Control of Communicable Diseases, August 1 1952, State of Illinois.   

I hope you find this interesting as well as educational.  

 

 

Definition of Terms

Adult: A person 16 years or older. 

Child: A person under 16 years of age.  If he is 16 years or over and attends school, he shall be considered a school child until after he has completed the twelfth grade.

Contact: Any person known to have bee sufficiently associated with an infected person as to have been presumably exposed to infection.

Disinfesting: Any physical or chemical process by which insects (including ticks and mites) or rodents known to be capable of conveying or transmitting infection and living on the body or in and around human habitation may be destroyed upon the person or his clothing or in his environment.

Fumigation: Any process by which the destruction of insects, as mosquitoes, fleas, bed bugs and body lice, and animals, as rats is accomplished by the employment of gaseous agents.

Patient: A person suffering from an attack of a communicable disease.

Quarantine: The limitation of freedom of movement of any person who has been exposed to a communicable disease.

Quarantine, Modified: A selective, partial limitation of freedom of movement that is applicable to certain specified diseases.

Susceptible (non-immune): A person who is not known to have become immune to the particular communicable disease in question by natural or artificial processes.

Suspect: A person whose medical history or symptoms suggest that he may now have or be developing a communicable disease.

          

 

A
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
Atrophy - Wasting away or diminishing in size.

B
Bad Blood - Syphilis
Bilious fever - Typhoid, malaria, hepatitis or elevated temperature
and bile emesis
Biliousness - Jaundice associated with liver disease
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 throat - Diphtheria (Seen on death certificates)
Blood poisoning - Bacterial infection; septicemia
Bloody flux - Bloody stools
Bloody sweat - Sweating sickness
Bone shave - Sciatica
Brain fever - Meningitis
Breakbone - Dengue fever
Bright's disease - Chronic inflammatory disease of kidneys
Bronze John - Yellow fever
Bule - Boil, tumor or swelling

C
Cachexy - Malnutrition
Cacogastric - Upset stomach
Cacospysy - Irregular pulse
Caduceus - Subject to falling sickness or epilepsy
Camp fever - Typhus; aka Camp diarrhea
Canine madness - Rabies, hydrophobia
Canker - Ulceration of mouth or lips or herpes simplex
Catalepsy - Seizures / trances
Catarrhal - Nose and throat discharge from cold or allergy
Cerebritis - Inflammation of cerebrum or lead poisoning
Chilblain - Swelling of extremities caused by exposure to cold
Child bed fever - Infection following birth of a child
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
Cholecystitus - Inflammation of the gall bladder
Cholelithiasis - Gall stones
Chorea - Disease characterized by convulsions, contortions and dancing
Cold plague - Ague which is characterized by chills
Colic - An abdominal pain and cramping
Congestive chills - Malaria
Consumption - Tuberculosis
Congestion - Any collection of fluid in an organ, like the lungs
Congestive chills - Malaria with diarrhea
Congestive fever - Malaria
Corruption - Infection
Coryza - A cold
Costiveness - Constipation
Cramp colic - Appendicitis
Crop sickness - Overextended stomach
Croup - Laryngitis, diphtheria, or strep throat
Cyanosis - Dark skin color from lack of oxygen in blood
Cynanche - Diseases of throat
Cystitis - Inflammation of the bladder

D
Day fever - Fever lasting one day; sweating sickness
Debility - Lack of movement or staying in bed
Decrepitude - Feebleness due to old age
Delirium tremens - Hallucinations due to alcoholism
Dengue - Infectious fever endemic to East Africa
Dentition - Cutting of teeth
Deplumation - Tumor of the eyelids which causes hair loss
Diary fever - A fever that lasts one day
Diptheria - Contagious disease of the throat
Distemper - Usually animal disease with malaise, discharge from nose and
throat, anorexia
Dock fever - Yellow fever
Dropsy - Edema (swelling), often caused by kidney or heart disease
Dropsy of the Brain - Encephalitis
Dry Bellyache - Lead poisoning
Dyscrasy - An abnormal body condition
Dysentery - Inflammation of colon with frequent passage of mucous and blood
Dysorexy - Reduced appetite
Dyspepsia - Indigestion and heartburn.  Heart attack symptoms
Dysury - Difficulty in urination

E
Eclampsy - Symptoms of epilepsy, convulsions during labor
Ecstasy - A form of catalepsy characterized by loss of reason
Edema - Nephrosis; swelling of tissues
Edema of lungs - Congestive heart failure, a form of dropsy
Eel thing - Erysipelas
Elephantiasis - A form of leprosy
Encephalitis - Swelling of brain; aka sleeping sickness
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
and bulbous lesions
Extravasted blood - Rupture of a blood vessel

F

Falling sickness - 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
Flux of humour - Circulation
French pox - Syphilis

G
Gathering - A collection of pus
Glandular fever - Mononucleosis
Great pox - Syphilis
Green fever / sickness - Anemia
Grippe/grip - 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
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

H
Hectical complaint - Recurrent fever
Hematemesis - Vomiting blood
Hematuria - Bloody urine
Hemiplegy - Paralysis of one side of body
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

I
Impetigo - Contagious skin disease characterized by pustules
Inanition - Physical condition resulting from lack of food
Infantile paralysis - Polio
Intestinal colic - Abdominal pain due to improper diet

J
Jail fever - Typhus
Jaundice - Condition caused by blockage of intestines


K                                                                                                                           King's evil - Tuberculosis of neck and lymph glands
Kruchhusten - Whooping cough

L
Lagrippe - Influenza
Lockjaw - Tetanus or infectious disease affecting the muscles of the neck and jaw.  Untreated, it is fatal in 8 days
Long sickness - Tuberculosis
Lues disease - Syphilis
Lues venera - Venereal disease
Lumbago - Back pain
Lung fever - Pneumonia
Lung sickness - Tuberculosis
Lying in - Time of delivery of infant

M
Malignant sore throat - Diphtheria
Mania - Insanity
Marasmus - Progressive wasting away of body, like malnutrition
Membranous Croup - Diphtheria
Meningitis - Inflations of brain or spinal cord
Metritis - Inflammation of uterus or purulent vaginal discharge
Miasma - Poisonous vapors thought to infect the air
Milk fever - Disease from drinking contaminated milk, like undulant fever or brucellosis
Milk leg - Post partum thrombophlebitis
Milk sickness - Disease from milk of cattle 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

N
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 - Described as discomfort, such as "Headache" was neuralgia in head
Nostalgia - Homesickness

P
Palsy - Paralysis or uncontrolled movement of controlled muscles. It was listed as "Cause of death"
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 skin spotting
Puerperal exhaustion - Death due to child birth
Phthiriasis - Lice infestation
Phthisis - Chronic wasting away or a name for tuberculosis
Plague - An acute febrile highly infectious disease with a high fatality rate
Pleurisy - Any pain in the chest area with each breath
Podagra - Gout
Poliomyelitis - PolioPotter's asthma - Fibroid pthisis
Pott's disease - Tuberculosis of spine
Puerperal exhaustion - Death due to childbirth
Puerperal fever - Elevated temperature after giving birth to an infant
Puking fever - Milk sickness
Putrid fever - Diphtheria.

Q
Quinsy - Tonsillitis.

R
Remitting fever - Malaria
Rheumatism - Any disorder associated with pain in joints
Rickets - Disease of skeletal system
Rose cold - Hay fever or nasal symptoms of an allergy
Rotanny fever - (Child's disease) ???
Rubeola - German measles

S
Sanguineous crust - Scab
Scarlatina - Scarlet fever
Scarlet fever - A disease characterized by red rash
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 - Tuberculosis of neck lymph glands.  Progresses slowly with abscesses and  pistulas develop. Young person's disease
Scrumpox - Skin disease, impetigo
Scurvy - Lack of vitamin C.  Symptoms of weakness, spongy gums and hemorrhages under skin
Septicemia - Blood poisoning
Shakes - Delirium tremens
Shaking - Chills, ague
Shingles - Viral disease with skin blisters
Ship fever - Typhus                                                                                                           Siriasis - Inflammation of the brain due to sun exposure
Sloes - Milk sickness
Small pox - Contagious disease with 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
Sore throat distemper - Diphtheria or quinsy
Spanish influenza - 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
Sprue - Tropical disease characterized by intestinal  disorders and sore throat
St. Anthony's fire - Also erysipelas, but named so because of affected skin areas are bright red in appearance
St. Vitas dance - Ceaseless occurrence of rapid complex jerking movements performed involuntary
Stomatitis - Inflammation of the mouth
Stranger's fever - Yellow fever
Strangery - Rupture
Sudor anglicus - Sweating sickness
Summer complaint - Diarrhea, usually in infants caused by spoiled milk
Sunstroke - Uncontrolled elevation of body temperature due to environment heat.  Lack of sodium  in the body is a predisposing cause
Swamp sickness - Could be malaria, typhoid or encephalitis
Sweating sickness - Infectious and fatal disease common to UK  in 15th century

T
Tetanus - Infectious fever characterized by high fever,  headache and dizziness
Thrombosis - Blood clot inside blood vessel
Thrush - Childhood disease characterized by spots on mouth, lips and throat
Tick fever - Rocky mountain spotted fever
                                                                         Toxemia of pregnancy - Eclampsia
Trench mouth - Painful ulcers found along gum line,  Caused by poor nutrition and poor hygiene
Tussis convulsiva - Whooping cough
Typhus - Infectious fever characterized high fever,  headache, and dizziness

V
Variola - Smallpox
Venesection - Bleeding
Viper's dance - St. Vitus Dance

W

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

Y                                                                                                                  Yellowjacket - Yellow fever



  Home