The Symptoms of Cerebro-Spinal Meningitis or Spotted Fever

A violent chill, or chilliness; fever; great weakness; severe headache; vomiting excited by attempting to sit up; stiffness of the neck; head often drawn backward, and back bent; drowsiness or stupor; great restlessness; face pale or congested, expressive of great suffering; sometimes entire loss of consciousness; delirium; convulsions; skin very sensitive; pain produced by the slightest motion of the limbs; eruption beginning on the face with spots like cold sores, and gradually extending to the whole body; eruption varied, some spots like flea bites, others like prickly heat or nettle stings, still others being simply red patches; bowels irregular.

This disease is infectious and probably also contagious. Much study has been bestowed upon the affection for the purpose of ascertaining its origin. It is supposed by some that the disease is caused by the use of grain affected with ergot. For further information on this point, see page 408. It generally occurs in epidemics, but isolated cases are occasionally met with. During the war it prevailed with great intensity in some parts of this country.

In some epidemics, the disease has a mild course, while in others it is rapidly fatal. The patient is generally taken down very suddenly when feeling as well as usual. Children under fifteen years of age are the most frequent victims, but all ages are subject to the disease. The predisposing causes are poor food, damp, overcrowded, badly ventilated, and filthy dwellings. The disease is often mistaken for typhoid or typhus fever, from which it sometimes can be distinguished only with great difficulty.