Smallpox Contagion Conveyed in a Letter

1840 Boston Medical and Surgical Journal  
On the 3d of March last I was called to see a young married lady, aet. about 23, who was the mother of one child, a female, about 16 months old, which yet nursed. 1 found the mother laboring under a paroxysm of hysteria, with quite severe spasms. On inquiry, 1 learned that she was naturally of a nervous and irritable temperament, but of a healthy and robust constitution ; that about six months before, she had an attack •of hysteria, in consequence of a severe fright, and that this, the second
more » ... this, the second attack, was brought on in consequence of violent mental emotion. The patient's head and breast being made bare, and removed from over the bed and supported by an assistant, I threw on, by three dashes each, two pails of cold water, which allayed the spasms entirely in a short time. To prevent the return of the fits, I administered some anodynes, with antispasmodics and a mild cathartic. The patient immediately recovered. The child was soon placed at the breast, and nursed heartily. On the following day, about 24 hours from the time of the recovery of the mother from her paroxysm, I was called to see the child, which 1 found with all the symptoms of hysteria ; violent and convulsive laughing, alternating with crying and screaming, suffocating spasms of the throat, a wild and furious expression of the countenance, which soon terminated in convulsions of a pretty severe character. The little patient was treated in the same manner as its mother, and recovered as rapidly. The following extract is from Eberle :-"
doi:10.1056/nejm184008190230207 fatcat:253ck2sxwfd4hler3krxbrxaya