Sweating Sickness, a disease which often prevailed extensively in Europe and Asia during the middle ages, and which still frequently appears in Turkey and other parts of Europe and Asia. The older descriptions of it are somewhat vague, but from the general symptoms it is doubtless the disease which has been accurately described by Rayer and others, and is now called miliary fever, sudatoria, and miliaria, and is defined as "an eruption of innumerable minute pimples with white summits, occurring in successive crops upon the skin of the trunk and extremities, preceded and accompanied with fever, oppression of respiration, and copious sweats of a rank, sour, fetid odor, peculiar to the disease. The base of the pimples and the skin around are red and irritable." Pathologists are not agreed as to its specific nature; some deny that a peculiar specific disease* exists, as in smallpox or scarlatina. The fever which precedes the eruption is ushered in by intense chills, oppression of breathing, fainting, and pains in the head, loins, and limbs. In a few hours nausea and profuse sweating come on, but without relieving the other symptoms. The pulse is small and rapid, often hard and irregular. The tongue is coated with a foul yellow fur, and the bowels are constipated.
From the 5th or 6th day to the 21st an itching sensation is felt in the mammary and epigastric regions and the inner surface of the arms, and the skin of those parts becomes red and rough, with numerous elevations about the size of common pin heads. In a short time the summits of these elevations become pearly white, the cuticle being elevated by a slightly opaque, sero-albuminous fluid. Several crops of elevations break out in succession for from three to seven days, followed by desquamation of the cuticle. In severe cases the eruption appears at the junction of the skin and mucous membrane, and is liable to become aphthous. Two forms are recognized, the mild and the malignant, the latter being accompanied by violent inflammation of some internal organ, and proving fatal sometimes in two or three days. The treatment consists in cooling drinks, bland diet, and frequent laving and sponging of the cutaneous surface. - The disease appeared in England in 1485, just after the battle of Bosworth, and disappeared suddenly at the beginning of the next year. It attacked people chiefly in the prime of life, and scarcely one per cent, recovered. It appeared again in the summer of 1506, but in a mild form.
In July, 1517, it appeared in a very malignant form, sometimes terminating fatally in a few hours. It lasted for six months, and like the preceding epidemics was confined to England. In May, 1528, it again appeared in London. It lingered in the city till the next year, and was so fatal as to receive the name of "the great mortality." It finally extended over the northern half of the continent, and 2,000 persons fell victims to it in 21 days at Hamburg. In 1551 it made its last appearance in England, and continued six months.