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Relapsing

disease, species, remains, fever, time and usually

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RELAPSING FEVER.—An acute, infectious disease produced by the Spirillum Obermeieri, a micro-organism having the form of a corkscrew (see Fig. 65). The physician, Dr. Obermeyer, who first discovered the bacteria in the blood of patients suffering from disease, later fell a victim to that very affection. The disease always occurs in epidemics, but in general it is rare. It is not known in which manner the infection is spread. The disease usually begins suddenly with a violent chill, general malaise, intense headache, and a sensation of heaviness in the limbs. The temperature rises steadily, reaching 104° to ro6° F. at the end of the second day. It then remains at this point for three or four days or more, and then drops suddenly. The skin becomes hot and dry, and turns a dirty yellow ; the tongue is coated ; the pulse is greatly accelerated ; and the muscles, espe cially those of the calves of the legs, become sensitive to the slightest touch.

The marked characteristic of the disease is the peculiar course of the fever. As already outlined, the temperature reaches a maximum within two days, remains high for three or four days, and then drops very suddenly, sometimes going as much as three degrees below the normal. It then remains about normal for a week or more, often fourteen days, the patient being apparently well, when a second period of equally high fever sets in, with a recurrence of all the symptoms. In many cases a second interval is followed by a third attack of fever ; and even a fourth and fifth recurrence of this strange disease have been observed. The subsequent attacks of fever gradually become of shorter duration, finally lasting only one day. The disease is usually found only among the crowded and poorly fed popula tions. It usually terminates in recovery, the mortality being at most two to four per cent. The recognition of relapsing fever depends upon its peculiar course, and upon the finding of the characteristic spirillum in the blood. Up to the present time no certain remedy has been found. The treatment

is usually restricted to the support of the patient, and to the avoidance of dangerous complications.

RENAL COLIC.—See KIDNEYS, DISEASES OF.

REPRODUCTION.—The process by which the various species of organised beings are perpetuated. It includes the production, growth and develop ment of new germs, and the changes which at different periods in the life of the individual take place in the organs and their functions as %yell as in external form. A double process of renovation and decay is constantly taking place in the organs and tissues, and, although the nutritive process seems to maintain the structure of the body at a certain point from moment to moment, yet, if observations be separated by a considerable lapse of time, a different state of affairs will be detected. Thus, the vital functions, so far from remaining indefinitely the same, pass through a definite series of progressive changes which end in their final cessation. Birth, nourish ment, development to maturity, retrogression, and death are repeated again and again in the individuals ; while the species is maintained by the constant accession of new organisms, generated from the old ones, and similar to them. This fact, that the young animals and plants are of the same kind as their parents, is so much a matter of daily observation that it is difficult for the lay mind to realise its importance and remarkableness as a law of reproduction.

It is not intended to assert that the anatomical characteristics of a species may not become modified by long lapse of time. Geology would refute such an assertion, making it evident that the appearance of a species have been markedly changed through very long periods, and that certain species have failed to maintain themselves and have disappeared entirely. But the fact remains that, at any one time, each species preserves its essen tial characteristics, and remains distinct from any others of the same period.

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