Trembles. Page: 1
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By C. DWIGHT MARSH, Associate Plhysiologist in, Charge of. Investigation of
Stock Poisoning by Plantlf, I'athological D)irisxin, Bureau Animal Industry
Cause of the disease------______- - 2 Description of rayless goldenrod.___ 8
Animals poisoned---_---__-_-__- 4 Toxic principles producing trembles_ 8
Transmission of the disease by milk_ 4 'Danger from the use of milk or
Meat of poisoned animals_-------- 5 butter from affected cows---___ 9
Trembles or milk sickness in mann _ 5 Remedies--------- -- 9
Description of white snakcroot_---_ 5 Prevention --,-__- ____-_________ 9
Trembles or milk sickness from rayless
THE NAMES TREMBLES and MILK SICKNESS (or " milksick,"
as it was more commonly known in the early part of the
nineteenth century) have been applied to a disease which was first
definitely recognized in the States along the Ohio River, and was
very common in the early days of the settlement of that region.
It not only produced tedious and protracted illnesses but man
fatalities. So numerous, in fact, were these cases, that it appeared
as almost an epidemic in some places, causing so many deaths that
some settlements were abandoned.
This disease was recognized as a distinct entity early in the nineteenth
century, although it is probable that many of the so-called
milk-sickness cases were caused by other diseases, such as malaria
and typhoid fever.
While it is stated that the disease existed in North Carolina prior
to 1776, the first published statement was by Dr. Daniel Drake, a distinguished
physician of Ohio.2 in 1810, who gave the symptoms in some
detail. These symptoms included lassitude, pains in the legs, lo.s of
appetite, obstinate constipation, vomiting, and a breath "peculiarly
disgusting and even loathsome." He stated that the disease affected
both sexes and all ages, and sometimes continued for months, and that
patients after recovery are liable to recurrences. He said that it
occurred in "aguish" situations, and that since its appearance intermittent
diseases declined. (It seems possible that the diagnosis of
trembles or milk sickness as distinct from malarial disease may have
resulted in an apparent diminution of "intermittent diseases.")
' Instead of the more common name "milk sickness" the name " trembles" Is used
by direction of the Director of Scientific Work on the ground that milk is a carrier and
not the cause of the disease. Trembles has also been referred to as milk-sick, sick
stomach, sick stomach or milk sickness, trembles or milk sickness, and epidemic fever.
2 DRAKS, D. NOTICES CONCERNING CINCINNATI. 60 p. Cincinnati. 1810. (Reprint in
Quart. Pub. Hist. and Phil. Soc. Ohio, v. 3, no. 1-2, 1908.)
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Marsh, C. Dwight (Charles Dwight). Trembles., book, June 1929; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc5897/m1/3/: accessed March 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.