Diseases K - Z

Often in genealogy as you do your research you encounter an archaic medical term used for the cause of death, or perhaps in a journal or family correspondence. This list is intended to aid with interpreting those terms.

DiseaseDescription
King's evilTuberculosis of neck and lymph glands
KruchhustenWhooping cough
LagrippeInfluenza
LockjawTetanus or infectious disease affecting the muscles of the neck and jaw. Untreated, fatal in 8 days.
Long sicknessTuberculosis
Lues diseaseSyphilis
Lues veneraVenereal disease
LumbagoBack pain
Lung feverPneumonia
Lung sicknessTuberculosis
Lying inTime of delivery of infant
Malignant sore throatDiphtheria
ManiaInsanity
MarasmusProgressive wasting away of body, like malnutrition
Membranous CroupDiphtheria
MeningitisInflations of brain or spinal cord
MetritisInflammation of uterus or purulent vaginal discharge
MiasmaPoisonous vapors thought to infect the air
Milk feverDisease from drinking contaminated milk, like undulant fever or brucellosis
Milk legPost partum thrombophlebitis
Milk sicknessDisease from milk of cattle which had eaten poisonous weeds
MormalGangrene
MorphewScurvy blisters on the body
MortificationGangrene of necrotic tissue
MyelitisInflammation of the spine
MyocarditisInflammation of heart muscles
NecrosisMortification of bones or tissue
NephrosisKidney degeneration
NepritisInflammation of kidneys
Nervous prostrationExtreme exhaustion from inability to control physical and mental activities
NeuralgiaDescribed as discomfort, such as "Headache" was neuralgia in head
NostalgiaHomesickness
PalsyParalysis or uncontrolled movement of controlled muscles. It was listed as "Cause of death".
ParoxysmConvulsion
PemphigusSkin disease of watery blisters
PericarditisInflammation of heart
PeripneumoniaInflammation of lungs
PeritonotisInflammation of abdominal area
Petechial FeverFever characterized by skin spotting
Puerperal exhaustionDeath due to child birth
PhthiriasisLice infestation
PhthisisChronic wasting away or a name for tuberculosis
PlagueAn acute febrile highly infectious disease with a high fatality rate
PleurisyAny pain in the chest area with each breath
PodagraGout
PoliomyelitisPolio
Pott's diseaseTuberculosis of spine
Puerperal exhaustionDeath due to childbirth
Puerperal feverElevated temperature after giving birth to an infant
Puking feverMilk sickness
Putrid feverDiphtheria
QuinsyTonsillitis
Remitting feverMalaria
RheumatismAny disorder associated with pain in joints
RicketsDisease of skeletal system
Rose coldHay fever or nasal symptoms of an allergy
Rotanny fever(Child's disease)?
RubeolaGerman measles
Sanguineous crustScab
ScarlatinaScarlet fever
Scarlet feverA disease characterized by red rash
Scarlet rashRoseola
SciaticaRheumatism in the hips
ScirrhusCancerous tumors
ScotomyDizziness, nausea and dimness of sight
Scrivener's palsyWriter's cramp
ScrewsRheumatism
ScrofulaTuberculosis of neck lymph glands. Young person's disease.
ScrumpoxSkin disease, impetigo
ScurvyLack of vitamin C. Symptoms of weakness, spongy gums and hemorrhages under skin.
SepticemiaBlood poisoning
ShakesDelirium tremens
ShakingChills, ague
ShinglesViral disease with skin blisters
Ship feverTyphus
SiriasisInflammation of the brain due to sun exposure
SloesMilk sickness
Small poxContagious disease with fever and blisters
Softening of brainResult of stroke or hemorrhage in the brain, with an end result of the tissue softening in that area.
Sore throat distemperDiphtheria or quinsy
Spanish influenzaEpidemic influenza
SpasmsSudden involuntary contraction of muscle or group of muscles, like a convulsion
Spina bifidaDeformity of spine
Spotted feverEither typhus or meningitis
SprueTropical disease characterized by intestinal disorders and sore throat
St. Anthony's fireAlso erysipelas, but named so because of affected skin areas are bright red in appearance.
St. Vitas danceCeaseless occurrence of rapid complex jerking movements performed involuntary
StomatitisInflammation of the mouth
Stranger's feverYellow fever
StrangeryRupture
Sudor anglicusSweating sickness
Summer complaintDiarrhea, usually in infants caused by spoiled milk
SunstrokeUncontrolled elevation of body temperature due to heat.
Swamp sicknessCould be malaria, typhoid or encephalitis
Sweating sicknessInfectious and fatal disease common to UK in 15th century
TetanusInfectious fever characterized by high fever, headache and dizziness
ThrombosisBlood clot inside blood vessel
ThrushChildhood disease characterized by spots on mouth, lips and throat
Tick feverRocky mountain spotted fever
Toxemia of pregnancyEclampsia
Trench mouthPainful ulcers found along gum line. Caused by poor nutrition and poor hygiene.
Tussis convulsivaWhooping cough
TyphusInfectious fever characterized high fever, headache, and dizziness.
VariolaSmallpox
VenesectionBleeding
Viper's danceSt. Vitus Dance
Water on brainEnlarged head
White swelling Tuberculosis of the bone
Winter feverPneumonia
Womb feverInfection of the uterus.
Worm fitConvulsions associated with teething, worms, elevated temperature or diarrhea.
YellowjacketYellow fever


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