This section is from "Scientific American Supplement Volumes 275, 286, 288, 299, 303, 312, 315, 324, 344 and 358". Also available from Amazon: Scientific American Reference Book.
A peculiar contagious disease, called framboesia, or the yaws, has long been known to exist in Africa, the West Indies, and the northern parts of the British Islands. It is chronic in character, and is distinguished by the development of raspberry-like tumors of granulation tissue on different parts of the body.
A disease of a somewhat similar, but severer type, has for many years prevailed in Ceylon. Even less was known of this affection than of its supposed congener, until a recent careful report upon the subject by Mr. W.R. Kinsey, principal civil medical officer of Ceylon.
The disease in question is called "parangi," and is defined by Mr. Kinsey (British Medical Journal) as a specific disease, produced by such causes as lead to debilitation of the system; propagated by contagion, generally through an abrasion or sore, but sometimes by simple contact with a sound surface; marked by an ill-defined period of incubation, followed by certain premonitory symptoms referable to the general system, then by the evolution of successive crops of a characteristic eruption, which pass on in weakly subjects into unhealthy and spreading ulcers whose cicatrices are very prone to contraction; running a definite course; attacking all ages, and amenable to appropriate treatment.
The disease seems to develop especially in places where the water supply, which in Ceylon is kept in tanks, is insufficient or poor. The bad food, dirty habits, and generally unhygienic mode of life of the people, help on the action of the disease.
Parangi, when once developed, spreads generally by contagion from the discharges of the eruptions and ulcers. The natural secretions do not convey the poison. The disease may be inherited also.
In the clinical history of the disease there are, according to Mr. Kinsey, four stages. The first is that of incubation. It lasts from two weeks to two months. A sore will be found somewhere upon the body at this time, generally over some bony prominence. The second is the stage of invasion, and is characterized by the development of slight fever, malaise, dull pains in the joints. As this stage comes on the initial sore heals. This second stage lasts only from two to seven days, and ends with an eruption which ushers in the third stage. The eruption appears in successive crops, the first often showing itself on the face, the next on the body, and the last on the extremities. This eruptive stage of the disease continues for several weeks or months, and it ends either in convalescence or the onset of a train of sequelæ, which may prolong the disease for years.
Parangi may attack any one, though the poorly fed and housed are more susceptible. One attack seems to confer immunity from another.
Although some of the sequelæ of the disease are most painful, yet death does not often directly result from them, nor is parangi itself a fatal disease. Persons who have had parangi and passed safely through it, are not left in impaired health at all, but often live to an old age.
The similarity of the disease, in its clinical history, to syphilis, is striking. Mr. Kinsey, however, considers it, as we have stated, allied to, if not identical with framboesia. - Medical Record.