This section is from the book "The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine. Volume 2.", by J. H. Kellogg, M.D.. Also available from Amazon: The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine, Volume 2.
Begins with a chili, followed with high fever; great weakness; headache; dizziness; ringing in the ears; pain in back of neck, small of the back, and in the h'mbs; general muscular pains throughout the body, increased by pressure or movement; unnatural sensitiveness of the skin; tongue white, with red tip; pulse from one hundred and ten to one hundred and twenty; temperature rises rapidly from one hundred and seven to one hundred and nine degrees; catarrh of the pharynx; usually constipation, but occasionally diarrhea; liver inactive, generally enlarged; spleen greatly enlarged; urine scanty, containing bile; at the end of orte or two weeks, crisis, with sudden disappearance of fever and pain; after six or eight days, return of previous symptoms; three or four relapses may occur.
According to Lebert, the cause of relapsing fever is a peculiar microscopical organism which appears in the blood of the patient suffering with this disease, in the form of delicate spiral filaments, which are about of an inch in diameter, and 1/125 of an inch in length. They are coiled in a spiral form, and have a lively, twisting motion. The disease is clearly contagious, being communicated by the conveyance of these parasites from one person to another. It is probable that drinking-water is one of the most common measures of communication.
Bad food, unsanitary conditions, and crowding of many people together are the principal predisposing causes. Some observers believe that the disease may be communicated by contact of one patient with another. Various epidemics of this disease have occurred, particularly in England, Ireland, Scotland, and Russia. The Irish epidemic extended over a large portion of that country, lasting four years. In 1847, the disease was imported into this country from Ireland. A few years ago an epidemic of the disease occurred in Berlin.