Belladonna, as a preventive against Scarlet Fever, was first proposed by Hahnemann in 1807. Bayle, in 1830, published notices of 2,027 persons who took this medicine during an epidemic, and of these 1,948 escaped. Dusterberg, in order to test more decidedly its preventive powers, purposely omitted administering Belladonna to one child in every family; and he states that in almost every case this child alone was seized with the disease. Dr. Zeuch, physician to the Military Hospital for Children in the Tyrol, after 84 children had been attacked by the fever, administered Belladonna to the remaining 61. With a single exception, they were all preserved from its attacks, although the fever was raging around. Mr. Stievenart,§ who quotes the above, adduces his own experience in its favour. Amongst other evidence, he cites the village of Curgies, where he administered Belladonna to the children of a public school, and allowed them to have communication with other children of the village, amongst whom the disease was rife. All who took the Belladonna escaped, but the few who refused to take it were attacked by the fever. He gave it in two forms, in solution or in powder. Two grains of the Alcoholic Extract were dissolved in fj. of fluid, and of this two drops were given to a child of one year old daily for nine or ten days. An additional drop was added for every additional year up to twelve. In the other form, gr. 1/2 of the powdered root was mixed with sugar, and divided into ten doses; one to be given night and morning to children of from one to two years old, and so on in proportion. In England, it has been tested by Dr. Newbigging,|| who states that he succeeded in arresting the progress of the disease by Belladonna, in a public institution, after seclusion had completely failed. He gave the Extract in doses of gr. 1/4. Similar testimony is adduced by Schenk, Kohler, Etmuller, Meglin, De Lens, and Hufeland; whilst Lehman, Hoffmann, Windt, Dr. Sigmond,* and others, express their disbelief in its prophylactic power. The weight of testimony is decidedly in favour of its preventive action; but further observations are required.
* Dict, of Pract. Med., art. Cancer, vol. i. p. 287. Ann. Univer. deMed., April 1845. Bibl. Therap. t. i. p. 504.
§ Edin. Med. and Surg. Journ., Oct. 1, 1843.
|| Edin. Monthly Journ., Sep. 1849.
As a remedial agent in Scarlet Fever, Belladonna appears to be undoubtedly a valuable remedy. Dr. Burne, Mr. E. Wilson, and others, have reported favourably of its efficacy; and Dr. J. Gardner states that he has employed it in thirty cases with the most decided benefit. He advises the Extract, in doses of gr. 1/2 - gr. j., every three, four, or six hours, dissolved in water; to be continued until it produces dilatation of the pupil and a degree of stupor. He adds that he does not allow low delirium, even from the first, to deter him from giving Belladonna, and that he administers no other medicine whatever, except an occasional dose of castor oil. Sponging the body and gargles are allowed. Antiphlogistic diet strictly enforced. Mr. Green, of Peckham, also testifies to the efficacy of this treatment.