Illinois Genealogy Trails State Data



**Epidemics in U.S. - 1657 - 1918 **


**Read about those who died in 1892 of La Grip**

**Read about the Spanish Flu Epidemic of 1918**

**Definitions for diseases can be found HERE**

Illinois Doctors listed in the Directory of Deceased American Physicians, 1804-1929 (NEW!!)

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Epidemics in U.S. - 1657 - 1918

From the South Bend, IN Area Genealogical Society, April 1996.
Originally from Sue in Arizona
(Thanks to Jim Allbright for this info).

Epidemics have always had a great influence on people -- and thus influencing, as well, the genealogists trying to trace them. Many cases of people disappearing from records can be traced to dying during an epidemic or moving away from the affected area. Some of the major epidemics in the United States are listed below:

1657 Boston: Measles
1687 Boston: Measles
1690 New York: Yellow Fever
1713 Boston: Measles
1729 Boston: Measles
1732-33 Worldwide: Influenza
1738 South Carolina: Smallpox
1739-40 Boston: Measles
1747 Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania & South Carolina: Measles
1759 North America (areas inhabited by white people): Measles
1761-61 North America & West Indies: Influenza
1772 North America: Measles
1775 North America (especially hard in New England): Epidemic (unknown)
1775-76 Worldwide: Influenza
1781-82 Worldwide: Influenza (one of worst flu epidemics)
1788 Philadelphia & New York: Measles
1793 Vermont: Influenza and a "putrid fever"
1793 Virginia: Influenza (kills 500 people in 5 counties in 4 weeks)
1793 Philadelphia: Yellow fever (one of worst)
1783 Delaware (Dover): "extremely fatal" bilious disorder
1793 Pennsylvania (Harrisburg & Middletown): many unexplained deaths
1794 Philadelphia: Yellow fever
1796-97 Philadelphia: Yellow Fever
1798 Philadelphia: Yellow Fever (one of worst)
1803 New York: Yellow Fever
1820-23 Nationwide: "fever" (starts on Schuylkill River, PA & spreads
1831-32 Nationwide: Asiatic Cholera (brought by English emigrants)
1832 New York & other major cities: Cholera
1837 Philadelphia: Typhus
1841 Nationwide: Yellow Fever (especially severe in South)
1847 New Orleans: Yellow Fever
1847-48 Worldwide: Influenza
1848-49 North America: Cholera
1850 Nationwide: Yellow Fever
1850-51 North America: Influenza
1852 Nationwide: Yellow Fever (New Orleans: 8,000 die in summer)
1855 Nationwide (many parts): Yellow Fever
1857-59 Worldwide: Influenza (one of disease's greatest epidemics)
1860-61 Pennsylvania: Smallpox
1865-73 Philadelphia, New York, Boston, New Orleans, Baltimore, Memphis, & Washington D.C.: a series of recurring epidemics of Smallpox, Cholera, Typhus, Typhoid, Scarlet Fever & Yellow Fever
1873-75 North America & Europe: Influenza
1878 New Orleans: Yellow Fever (last great epidemic of disease)
1885 Plymouth, PA: Typhoid
1886: Jacksonville, Fl: Yellow Fever
1918 Worldwide: Influenza (high point year) More people hospitalized in World War I from Influenza than wounds. US Army training camps became death camps --with 80 percent death rate in some camps.

Finally, these specific instances of cholera were mentioned:
1833 Columbus, Ohio
1834 New York City
1849 New York
1851 Coles Co., Illinois
1851 The Great Plains
1851 Missouri






DEFINITIONS FOR DISEASES MENTIONED ON THIS PAGE

AGUE - A fever, usually malarial, marked by regularly recurring chills.

BILIOUS FEVER - A fever caused by a disorder of the Liver.

CHOLERA - Any of several intestinal diseases, but mainly an acute, sever, infectious disease characterized by profuse diarrhea, intestinal pain and dehydration.

DIPHTHERIA - An acute infectious disease caused by a bacterium and characterized by weakness, high fever, and the formation in the air passages of a tough, membrane-like obstruction to breathing.

DYSENTERY - Any of various intestinal inflammations characterized by abdominal pain and intense diarrhea with bloody, mucous feces.

ERYSIPELAS - An acute infectious disease of the skin or mucous membranes caused by a streptococcus and characterized by local inflammation and fever.

GLANDERS - A contagious disease of horses, mules, etc. characterized by fever, swelling of glands beneath the lower jaw, inflammation of the nasal mucous membranes, etc.:  it can be transmitted to certain other animals and man.

INFLUENZA - An acute, contagious, infectious disease, caused by any of a specific group of viruses and characterized by inflammation of the respiratory tract,fever, and muscular pain.

INTERMITTENT FEVER - A fever characterized by periodic intervals when the body temperature returns to normal.

MALARIA - This was once thought to be from exposure to bad air in swamps. It is an infectious disease, generally intermittent and recurrent, caused by any of various protozoans that are parasitic in the red blood corpuscles and are transmitted to man by the bite of an infected mosquito, especially the anopheles. it is characterized by severe chills and fever.

MEASLES - An acute, infectious, communicable virus disease, characterized by small red spots on the skin, high fever, nasal discharge, etc., and occurring most frequently in childhood.

MENINGITIS - An inflammation of the meninges (lining of the brain and spinal column) and is the result of infection from bacteria or viruses. (aka cerebrospinal fever)

MILK SICKNESS - A rare disease, formerly common in the Western US, caused by consuming dairy products or flesh from cattle that have eaten any of various poisonous weeds.

OPHTHALMIA - A severe inflammation of the eyeball or conjunctiva.

PUERPERAL FEVER - Sepsis sometimes occurring during childbirth: A former term that is no longer used.

SCARLET FEVER - An acute contagious disease, especially of children, caused by hemolytic streptococci and characterized by sore throat, fever, and a scarlet rash.

SMALL POX - An acute, highly contagious virus disease characterized by prolonged fever, vomiting, and pustular eruptions that often leave pitted scars, or pockmarks, when healed.

TERTIAN FEVER - Occurring every other day, usually every third day, usually applied to fever or a disease causing it, especially any of certain forms of malaria.

TUBERCULOSIS - An infectious disease caused by the tubercle bacillus and characterized by the formation of tubercles in various tissues of the body; specifically, tuberculosis of the lungs; consumption.

TYPHOID - An acute infectious disease caused by a bacillus and acquired by ingesting food or water contaminated by excreta: it was formerly considered a form of typhus and is characterized by fever, intestinal disorders, etc.

YELLOW FEVER - An acute, infectious tropical disease caused by a virus transmitted by the bite of the yellow-fever mosquito, and characterized by fever, jaundice, vomiting, etc.




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