St. Vitus's Dance. This disease may occur as an epidemic, particularly when large crowds meet, some of whom are laboring under some violent excitement. It most frequently, however, occurs in females at the time of development of puberty, from the seventh to the sixteenth year.
There are involuntary motions of single members, or of the whole body, wandering from one part to the other. These motions are exceedingly variable in their character. Sometimes there are violent jerks of different parts of the body; if of the arm, whatever is in the hand at the time is thrown down with violence; sometimes there are violent contortions of the muscles of the face, again the patient may, against his will, dance for hours, or run for miles, until completely exhausted. It differs from epilepsy in one important particular, the convulsions are never attended with loss of consciousness.
It would be impossible, in a work like this, to detail the treatment of this disease, as the practiced judgment of the physician is necessary to conduct the cure. The galvanic battery will be found an important remedy. The system should be strengthened, and to this end, the body should be bathed with cold water, out-door exercise taken, and violent excitement avoided.