The Symptoms of Miliary Tuberculosis

Frequent chills; fever; very frequent and small pulse; exhausting sweats; dry tongue; often delirium or stupor; great prostration; cough; shortness of breath; at last, oedema of the lungs.

This disease must not be mistaken for what is known as acute or galloping consumption. It is the general manifestation of the same disease which in consumption is chiefly confined to the lungs, and in its course so closely resembles typhoid or intermittent fever that a correct diagnosis is frequently not made. An examination of the lungs shows almost an entire absence of the particular symptoms of local disease in these organs, about the only symptom which can be discovered being great shortness of breath. The absence of symptoms in the lungs is due to the fact that all parts of them are equally affected, while in ordinary consumption some particular part of the lungs is diseased, other portions often remaining in a nearly healthy condition. An examination after death shows the mesenteric glands, spleen, liver, and in fact all parts of the body, to be affected with tubercles. The disease usually runs a rapid course, the patient dying, in most cases, in from forty to sixty days. The disease is generally a primary one, and is probably due to infection of the system with tuberculous matter. It seems to us probable, though the fact has not yet been proven, that infection most often occurs by the use of the flesh or milk of consumptive animals. It also sometimes occurs in the latter stages of consumption, the whole system becoming affected by the local disease.

The Treatment of Miliary Tuberculosis

Little can be done but to render the patient as comfortable as possible, since there is almost no hope of recovery; but as there is always a possibility as to a mistake of the nature of the disease, efforts for the relief of the patient should be unabated, even to the last. The most important measure of treatment is to control the raging fever as much as possible by sponge baths, compresses, etc. The same general rules of treatment should be followed which have been recommended for consumption. Cold applied to the chest is one of the best remedies for the shortness of breath. Ice should be applied to the head freely if the patient suffers much with headache, as is frequently the case.