Murrain (Span, morrina, from Lat. mori, to die; or Gr., to waste, to destroy), a term applied to various fatal contagious epizootics, and therefore an equivalent to some extent of the Greek?., Latin pestis, and English pest and plague. The diseases most commonly included under this term are Russian cattle plague, aphthous fever, lung fever, and malignant anthrax. The first three are true plagues, spreading widely by contagion and irrespective of the influences of season, climate, etc.; the fourth appears to arise from unhealthy local conditions, but in hot, damp, insalubrious years will assume an unusual virulence and spread far beyond its native limits. From the earliest ages these affections have spread widely and disastrously in the track of belligerent armies, being propagated in their herds of supply; and thus on the occasion of any great European war the ravages of pestilence and famine have been superadded to the horrors of fire and sword. The yearly losses of individual countries in such cases were to be counted by hundreds of thousands of stock, while the losses to the continent by a single epizootic are computed at hundreds of millions. - 1. Russian Cattle Plague, or Steppe Murrain (Ger. Rinderpest, Fr. la peste bovine, &c), is a contagious fever of cattle and other ruminants, supposed to arise spontaneously in the Kirghiz steppes and the government of Kherson in southern Russia, characterized by congestion, excessive growth and degeneration of epithelium, sloughing, and ulceration of all the mucous membranes, but especially of those of the alimentary canal.
It has spread over western Europe in connection with every great general war, from the irruption of the Huns, about A. I). 375, to the recent Franco-German contest, after which both belligerent countries suffered severely. After the taking of Paris the plague anticipated the famished inhabitants in destroying the cattle set apart for their relief, and out of 10,000 to 12,000 reserved for the troops 800 died in one night. From 17llto 1769 it destroved over 200,000,000 head of cattle in Europe; from 1793 to 1796, 3,000,000 to 4,000,000 in Italy; in 1842 it killed 300,000 head of cattle in Egypt, and died out two years later for want of more animals to destroy; and in 1865-6 it proved fatal to about 500,000 head in Great Britain within 18 months. Excepting in its supposed birthplace on the steppes, this malady is propagated only by contagion, and in ordinary cases passes over exclusively breeding districts into which no strange cattle nor their products are brought. Thus Belgium almost entirely escaped in the recent French outbreak.
Austria and Prussia habitually protect themselves by a supervision and quarantine on their frontiers, and only suffer when such barriers are broken down under the exigencies of Avar. - The poison, which exists in all parts of the body, and is given off in the secretions and exhalations, does not spread far on the atmosphere, but may remain in a frozen or dried condition for many months, without losing its virulence. When this poison has been introduced into the system by inoculation, it remains latent for over 36 hours. At the end of the second day there is a marked elevation of the bodily temperature (2° to 3°), and the following day the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose, and vulva are suffused by a deep livid blush. At this time, or even earlier, there appear on the gums or lips whitish aph-thous-like elevations, formed of epithelium, which are granular or even approach the characters of pus cells in their deeper layers. On the fourth day there is dulness, appetite and rumination are impaired, and the secretions generally are lessened.
On the fifth day illness is recognized by any one, in the great depression, half-closed watery eyes, retracted ears, the dry, hard, and scanty dung coated with mucus, the want of appetite, irregular breathing, and small, weak, and often accelerated pulse. Next day all the symptoms are exaggerated; the bowels are relaxed and dysenteric the faeces passed with much straining, and the everted gut of a deep red; the back is arched, the abdomen tense and tender, the mouth covered with raw sores from the separation of the white crusts, the muzzle dry, cracked, and raw, the pulse weak and rapid, and the breathing checked with a clucking sound and a concussion of the whole body at the commencement of expiration. This check to expiration causes emphysema of the lungs, and later of the walls of the chest, where it appears in puffy irregular swellings crackling under pressure. These symptoms are steadily aggravated, emaciation becomes extreme, weakness compels the animal to lie down constantly, the fetid stools pass involuntarily, and the temperature rapidly falls as a precursor of death, which usually happens on the seventh or eighth day. In many mild cases an eruption appears on the skin, consisting of modified epidermic cells.
Buffaloes suffer from this affection, and to a less extent sheep, goats, deer, the yak, the aurochs, and even the peccary. The pathological lesions consist largely in stagnation of blood in the capillaries of the various mucous membranes, which, often in the interpulmonary air passages, but above all in the third and fourth stomachs, the small intestines, and the rectum, assume a dark claret color, and are covered besides with black spots of extravasation that may terminate in sloughing and even perforation. The mucous membranes of the urinary and generative organs are often similarly congested and ecchymosed. The blood and diseased textures contain an excess of granules in an active state of vitality, which are believed to be connected with the increase of the poison. Treatment of this disease is inadmissible. The extinction of the poison by the slaughter of the diseased animals, as advised by Lancisi in 1713 and first practised in England in 1714, has been proved by the experience of a century and a half to be the one satisfactory and economical mode of contending with it.
Wherever the disease has been treated, as it was generally in former times, and in Egypt, England, and Holland more recently, the losses have been enormous; whereas in countries where the infected were promptly slaughtered, and all that had been in contact with them thoroughly disinfected, it has been invariably extinguished at a trifling cost. - 2. Aphthous Fever (Gr., from, to Bet on tire), Vesicular Murrain, Eczema Epizootica, or Foot and Mouth Disease, is a contagious fever of ruminants and omnivora, communicable to other mammals and to fowls by inoculation or the use of the warm milk. It is characterized by the eruption of blisters on the mouth, udder, teats, and feet. It is first distinctly described as prevailing among Silesian cattle in 1686, and has since spread on the occasion of every great European war. England was long protected by its insular position, but imported the disease in 1839, and has steadily maintained it by her continental cattle trade. In 1870 it was carried from England to Canada, and later to Buenos A) res. From Canada it spread to New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts; but in the absence of large markets for store cattle, it died out here under moderate restrictions as to movement of stock.
Some cases reappeared in Rensselaer county, N. Y., in the spring of 1871, and in Dutchess county in January, 1872, doubtless from virus preserved in the buildings. It is only known as propagated by contagion, and the absence of spontaneous development in England and America is demonstrated by their immunity for centuries, until the disease was conveyed in imported cattle, by its prompt disappearance from our states when the propagation of the poison was interfered with, and by the continued exemption of some exclusively breeding and secluded districts even in England. - Almost all ruminants and swine are susceptible, but as the poison does not spread through the atmosphere, but mainly or alone on solid bodies, it is easily controlled. After an incubation of about a day, the patient appears chilly, stiff, rough-coated, with warm tender mouth, teats, and feet, and an elevation of bodily heat by 2° F. The second or third day blisters appear on the mouth, teats, and feet; the patient slavers, smacks her lips, stretches the legs out backward and shakes the feet, and flinches on milking. Soon the blisters break, leaving raw sores, which speedily heal up in the mouth, but are often maintained and extended by milking or by filth in the case of the teats and feet.
Thus it is that the udder often inflames, suppurates, or sloughs, the womb sympathizes, causing abortion, or the cow becomes an inveterate kicker, or sheds her hoofs and contracts periostitis, caries, or necrosis of the bones of the foot. If however the parts are kept clean, recovery is usually complete in 8 to 16 days. Sheep and swine suffer most seriously in the feet. Other animals have blisters in the mouth, and near the hoofs, nails, or claws. Infants and other sucking animals sometimes contract fatal inflammation of the stomach and bowels. Though rarely fatal, this disease causes great losses by drying up the milk, or rendering it unfit for consumption, by disease of the udder and feet, by abortion, and other complications. It demands little treatment beyond cool soft food and cleanliness, yet advantage may be derived from a laxative when the bowels are costive, and astringent cooling lotions to the affected parts. The feet may require poulticing when much inflamed, or strong caustics when ulcerated.
But, like other contagious diseases, this is best prevented by a careful professional supervision over importation, and by the complete seclusion and disinfection of diseased stock, and of all places and objects with which they have been in contact. - 3. Lung Fever, Pulmonary Murrain, Epizootic or Contagious Pleuro-pneumonia, Lung Plague, etc, is a contagious fever of cattle, characterized by extensive exudations into the respiratory organs, and the phenomena of a low typhous inflammation of the lungs, pleurae, and bronchia. This disease has usually spread in company with rinderpest and aphthous fever, but attracted less attention because of its long incubation, its insidious onset, and slow progress, which allowed the public mind to be preoccupied with its more prompt and fatal congeners. Pulmonary epizootics are mentioned by Tacitus and Columella, and in 1693 Valentin described one which, being confined to cattle, was probably that of our own day. Since then it has usually spread in the track of armies and coexisted with the rinderpest. Though existing continuously in the greater part of western Europe during the whole of the present century, yet it has respected certain countries for a length of time or entirely.
Thus England was protected by the narrow strait of Dover till 1839, when the disease was introduced by the same series of importations which carried aphthous fever. Denmark imported it repeatedly from England and Holland, but as often stamped it out by the destruction of the infected ani-mals and a thorough attendant disinfection, and kept clear until the recent war with Germany. In 1860 it was imported from Scotland into Norway, but was at once extinguished by a close quarantine and careful disinfection. In 1858 it reached Oldenburg from Scotland, but was immediately annihilated by the destruction of the infected stock. Switzerland, long slandered as the native home of the plague, has cleared her farms, and now keeps them sound by inexorable slaughter. Mecklenburg has met with an equal success. In 1858 the disease reached Australia by an imported English cow, and was allowed to spread on the open plains until many of them were almost depopulated. In 1843 and 1850 it was brought to Brooklyn, N. Y., and in 1847 to New Jersey, by English cattle, and finally in 1859 into Massachusetts by Dutch cattle. The New Jersey outbreak was extinguished by the destruction of all the cattle on the farm.
In Massachusetts a government commission was appointed with power to isolate exposed herds under strict supervision and to kill all diseased animals, remunerating the owners out of state funds; and they finally extinguished the disease after six years' effort and the slaughter of 1,164 cattle, besides those which died of the plague. In New York no sufficient effort was made, and the plague has since been known in the city as the swill-milk disease, and has spread in Kings and Queens counties, into New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, the District of Columbia, and Virginia. Its progress is greatly retarded by the absence of any cattle traffic westward; but should it ever reach the great stock-raising regions of the west, it can scarcely fail to rapidly overrun the entire country. - The disease is undoubtedly propagated by contagion alone in western Europe and America. The poison, which pervades the entire body, is concentrated in the pulmonary exudation, and being exhaled in the breath spreads much further on the atmosphere than those of rinderpest and aphthous fever. It is conveyed long distances in the clothes of human beings, and hence butchers and jobbers are continually spreading the disease in infected countries.
Markets, cars, boats, loading banks, roads, pastures, yards, buildings, clothing, utensils, fodder, etc, are also fruitful means of its diffusion. The bovine race are alone susceptible. After an incubation of four to six weeks, the temperature rises to 103° or 104° F., and an infrequent short dry cough appears, which increases in frequency, depth, and hoarseness. Soon a staring coat, stiff gait, cold horns and legs, tender spine, intercostals, and breast bone, accelerated pulse and breathing, partially suppressed secretions, impaired appetite and rumination, and occasional dryness of the muzzle, mark further progress. The physical signs of effusion into the lungs and pleurae are present from the first, and the progress of the disease, as well as of recovery, may be followed from day to day by auscultation and percussion. At first the patient may lie on the side most affected, but as the disease advances he stands obstinately with legs apart, nose protruded, and each expiration accompanied by a deep groan. The nose discharges a mucopurulent fluid, with solid masses of mucus and even blood, and a fetid watery diarrhoea sets in and rapidly wears out the animal. Emaciation becomes extreme, and death ensues in four to six weeks, if the patient has escaped the earlier risks of suffocation.
The mortality is usually from 50 to 60 per cent, in a newly invaded locality. The lesions are mainly confined to the chest. The lungs are infiltrated with serosity, or later are firmly hepatized, and show the yellow lines or marbling common to all bovine pneumonia; the pleurae are more or less filled with serum and covered by false membranes, the bronchia congested and covered with a muco-purulent discharge; softening, abscess, gangrene, etc, are not uncommon, and in the worst cases the exudations are often blood-stained. This disease is more amenable to treatment than rinderpest, but, unless where a land is already infected throughout, it is rarely advisable to treat it. Treatment consists in such measures as will moderate the fever, sustain the depressed vital functions, favor the elimination of the poison, and check its reproduction. Laxatives with cooling diuretics and arterial sedatives are often serviceable, especially in the early stages, while in the very prostrate states diffusible stimulants may be freely used.
Counter-irritants may be applied to the affected parts of the chest whenever there is evidence of active inflammation, while disinfectants (carbolic acid, bisulphate of soda, and the sulpho-carbo-lates) may be given by the mouth as well as employed to disinfect the building and discharges. The hydropathic treatment by thorough wet-sheet packing has been employed successfully, being repeated as often as the fever rises anew. But prevention is the most economical course, and when few animals in a country are infected this is best secured by their prompt destruction, followed by a thorough disinfection. If a country is generally infected, sound rattle may be protected by the free use of sulphate of iron, or sulpho-carbo-lates, by seclusion, treatment, and thorough disinfection of infected herds; or still better, by inoculation, the animals operated on being shut up in secluded and disinfected stables and treated in every respect like diseased stock. The inoculation is made on the tip of the tail with lymph from a recently infiltrated lung and a mild case of the disease. Store markets should be closed and no stock moved except under a written official warrant, and only from herds in which no disease has existed for over two months (better one year), and where disinfection has been thorough.
A special supervision should be kept up at all landing ports, a clean bill of health demanded, and a sufficient quarantine enjoined, since the long incubation of this fever affords every facility for its introduction unobserved. - 4. Malignant Anthrax, Malignant Carbuncle, Carbuncular Fever, Bloody Murrain, Black Murrain, Hoematosepsis, Typhoemia, Peloemia, Blood-striking (Ger. Brand, Fr. charbori), etc. These names are applied to a class of specific contagious diseases, enzootic, but sometimes epizootic, originating in herbivora, swine, and birds, and communicable to other animals, including man. It is characterized by profound changes in the chemical and vital properties of the blood, disintegration of its globules, impaired or suspended haematosis, and exudations and extravasations in the most varied parts, with a tendency to gangrene. In the earlier ages this class of diseases was very prevalent and disastrous, often extending like a plague; and though improved cultivation has greatly limited their ravages, they are still far too frequent and deadly. Fleming quotes from Irish records a notice of an epidemic and epizootic in 2048 B. C, supposed to have been of this nature.
The murrain in Egypt spoken of in connection with the exodus, which attacked all domestic animals (Ex. ix.), and the plague of boils and blains upon man and beast, are referable to different forms of these affections. The decimation of the Grecian army and their beasts at the siege of Troy (Iliad, lib. i.), and the combined epidemics and epizootics in the Roman territories mentioned by Plutarch, Livy, and Virgil, point in the same direction. The records of the middle ages abound in accounts of pestilences on man and beast', many of them unquestionably of this kind. More recently we find the outbreak in Santo Domingo in which, from eating the dead and dying beasts, 15,000 people perished from malignant pustule in six weeks; also the yearly devastations in the Russian provinces, where besides the live stock as many as a fourth of the human population are cut off in the worst anthrax years. In the United States, epidemics occurred near Philadelphia in 1834-'6, in Louisiana in 1837_'9 and in northern New York ("malignant erysipelas"), alter a "fatal epizootic of slav'ers" (glossantlirax) among horses, in 1825. The records of the bureau of agriculture show its prevalence in the malarious regions of the south, and isolated outbreaks and even human victims are still quite common in the northern states. - Contagion is probably the sole occasion of this affection in man, and a common cause in the lower animals also.
In bad cases all parts of the body are poisonous, and the virus may be dried up and kept for an indefinite period without losing its potency; it survives a temperature of 145° F., so that cooked meat is often fatal; and its simple contact with unbroken skin has sufficed to convey the disease. Spherical and staff-like bacteria, always found in the blood and morbid fluids in fatal cases, have been fixed upon as the cause of the malady; but it remains to be proved that they are more than the effect. That insects serve to propagate it is probable, since nearly all cases in man commence on the face, hands, or other exposed part of the body. It prevails above all on marshy soils when drying, in basins with no drainage, on rich river bottoms and deltas, on stiff clays, hard pan, and other impervious subsoils, in rich valleys sheltered from winds by surrounding hills whose rocky sides radiate the heat and hasten evaporation, and even on over-manured soils, saturated with organic matter and rich in nitrites, though the drainage may be moderately good. Yet many marshes prolific of fatal malarious fevers in man are not remarkable for causing malignant anthrax.
They seem to be the best fields for the permanent preservation of the poison, but are perhaps not always capable of developing it de novo. Plethora, youth, alternations of heat and cold, starvation, overwork, or anything indeed which lowers the vitality or loads the blood with effete organic products, lays the system open to receive the poison. - These diseases are primarily divisible into two great classes: 1, those in which the changes are confined to the blood and internal organs, especially the spleen; and 2, those which, in addition to the blood changes, present local swellings from blood extravasations and sero-albuminous exudations. Of the first class a certain proportion die after a few minutes' illness. This, the apoplectic form, occurs in swine, horses, sheep, and cattle, in about the order named. From apparent health the victim suddenly falls, struggles, perhaps expels blood by some natural opening (nose, anus), and dies. In these there is little change even in the blood. More protracted are splenic apoplexy of horse and ox, blood-striking, braxy or sang-de-rate of sheep, and the carbuncular fever of swine and fowls.
In these there are profound nervous prostration, pendent head, excited pulse and breathing, sometimes abdominal pain, spots of blood-staining on the visible mucous membranes, or a deep yellow or brownish hue of these parts, and the passage of the elements of blood by some of the natural openings (nose, anus, urinary organs). The temperature, rarely elevated, may be even lowered. Death ensues in from six hours to several days. The blood globules are largely disintegrated, the fibrine replaced by a comparatively incoagulable less oxidized element; if a clot forms, it fails to contract and squeeze out the serum; the blood reddens but little on exposure, its liquid part is stained by dissolved haematine, and it contains spherical and elongated bacteria. Rigor mortis is rare, decomposition setting in at once with intoler-' able foeetor. The spleen is enlarged, sometimes ruptured, and other internal organs are often the seats of extravasation or exudation. - The localized forms of the disease are as varied as the seat and extent of the swellings. All such swellings however have characters in common. They appear suddenly, after some general fever and lassitude, and increase rapidly.
The skin covering them tends to gangrene, and dries and hardens in part or in whole, becoming cold, and crackling on pressure from the extrication of gas beneath. Blisters with red or purple contents may form, or a yellow or purple liquid may ooze from the surface. Extensive sloughing often succeeds. Active inflammation and suppuration are favorable signs. The smaller swellings will sometimes shift from place to place. These external forms of the affection are less fatal than the internal. Among them may be mentioned many cases of so-called purpura hoecemorrhagica in the horse, in which the head, limbs, and other parts are engorged; the glossanthrax or black tongue; the black-quarter of cattle, in which extravasation takes place in one limb or a part of the trunk; the carbuncular erysipelas of sheep and swine; the anthrax of the mouth and carbuncular sore throat of hogs; the boil plague of eastern Europe and Asia; and finally the malignant pustule of man. (See Pustule.) The treatment in the local forms of the disease is to destroy the diseased structures with caustic before the general system has been poisoned. For more extended swellings, attended by constitutional disturbance, antiseptics may be applied locally or, better, injected into the enlargements.
Carbolic, sulphuric, and chromic acids and iodine may be mentioned, the last having destroyed the virulence of anthrax fluids when dissolved in 12,000 times its weight of water. "When sores have formed, the extravasations and exudations may be cauterized throughout, and the sound tissues beneath stimulated to a healthy action. But no sores should be made, save with the fine nozzle of the injecting syringe, where they do not already exist. In both internal and external forms of the affection, the system must be supported by tonics and stimulants; gentle laxatives and diuretics may be used to eliminate waste and pernicious matters from the blood, and antiseptics administered to check the prolification of the poison as far as possible. Carbolic acid, chromic acid, the mineral acids, and iodine are especially to be recommended. By way of prevention nothing succeeds better than thorough drainage, removal of animals from dangerous enclosed valleys, rich river bottoms, etc, during the hot and dry season, keeping stock indoors until the dews have disappeared in the mornings, good steady dieting, the avoidance of suddenly induced plethora, the maintenance of a healthy action of bowels, kidneys, and skin, and a general attention to sound hygienic principles.