A Treatise on the Eclectic Southern Practice of Medicine Page: 81 of 724
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OF FEVERS IN GENERAL.
plied suddenly excites the nervous system; its alterna-
tions with heat is a fertile source of disease, generally
resulting in affections of the chest, pneumonia, colds, or
rheumatism. " Cold water externally applied, or taken
into the stomach when the body is heated, and in a free
state of perspiration, often proves suddenly fatal."
Miasmata are seldom generated at a temperature be-
low 800; their precise nature unknown; there is reason
to believe that they consist of particles of putrid veget-
ables and animal matter, dissolved in aqueous vapor.
Periodical fevers are met with in mountainous districts
in the interior of some of the islands, at an elevation of
six hundred feet, and amongst a series of mountainous
ridges not exposed to currents of exhalations from
swampy and low grounds. We therefore conclude that
heat and moisture are not sufficient to produce epidemic
disease. Something more is necessary, and may be dis-
covered by attention to the situation and circumstances
of the places most liable to these diseases.
Contagion.-By "contagion is generally meant, I be-
lieve, either a peculiar matter generated in, or a de-
praved secretion of a living system under disease;
capable of producing the same disease in others, when
there is no indisposition to it; and more especially if
there be a predisposition." The diseases produced by
this class of causes preserve a determined or specific
character; you may divide into chronic and acute; the
latter seldom affect more than once, the former may
affect repeatedly. "Typhus fever, under certain cir-
cumstances, contagious; appears to be propagated by
effluvia only." Contagion is rendered more or less
harmless by free ventilation; it will attach itself to va-
rious substances; those most apt to receive it and retain
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Massie, J. Cam. A Treatise on the Eclectic Southern Practice of Medicine, book, 1854; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth143817/m1/81/: accessed June 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting University of Texas Health Science Center Libraries.