Century-old hepatitis miscellany from Minnesota

bad way

The Pierz Journal (Pierz, Morrison County, Minnesota), 1915-12-02


In a Bad Way

“Where are you off to in such a hurry?”

“To fetch the doctor for my husband.”

“What’s up with him?”

“He tells me he has got hepatitis, dyspepsia, rheumatism, enteritis, gastritis, appendicitis, nephritis and cerebro spinal meningitis.”

“Holy terrors!  Where did he get all that?”

Why a man induced him to buy a medical dictionary, and he’s just been reading it.”

______________________________________________________________ Gee, folks with virulent liver trouble had it made in 1911–only 25 cents for Dr. King’s New Life Pills.


Starts Much Trouble. If all people knew that neglect of constipation would result in severe indigestion, yellow jaundice or virulent liver trouble they would soon take Dr. King’s New Life Pills, and end it. Its the only safe way. Best for biliousness, headache and dyspepsia, chills and debility. 25c at E. L. Kaliher. The Pierz Journal (Pierz, Morrison County, Minnesota), 1911-11-02


Old-timey MN remarks on a British Lancet article.  Anyone with a history hepatitis knows the itch referred to here in 1937.


Itching Pruritis. It has been truly said that “all the world itches, but for different reasons in different persons.” Thus the very cleanest and the very dirtiest individuals itch; those who perspire too much or not enough, itch; those who are big eaters and those who are small eaters, itch. Itching, or pruritis as it is called by physicians, when it exists for any length of time has usually been referred to a skin specialist. However itching can be a symptom of so many ailments that is is really the work of the family physician, according to an article by Lord Horder in the British Lancet. He mentions among other causes of itching such ailments as diabetes, jaundice, leukemia (great increase in the white corpuscles in the blood) and uremia (waste products left in the blood that should have been removed by the kidneys). The Pine River Journal (Pine River, Minnesota), 1937-04-01


But, not to worry, there are new remedies in the 1930s for sale:


The Pine River Journal (Pine River, Minnesota), 1938-03-03

Catarrhal jaundice is now known as HAV. It is described in reports like this 1901 outbreak in the UK (LINK).  But even as late as 1961, researchers thought there were at least two strains of the virus but were still floundering around–as expert W. Paul Havens explains in Viral Hepatitis, Yale J Biol Med. Dec –Feb 1961-2; 34(3-4): 314–328., (LINK).

The Havens article also provides a sense of how a big a problem hepatitis was for the military during WWII.  This corresponds with this chart by Google showing the use of the word “hepatitis” in books over time.  Yet even in the 1800’s, when books (in English), or physicians, were not as available as they were in the mid-19th century, the topic is one of steady concern

hep ngram

Google’s search for the word hepatitis in BOOKS shows that the mentions begin to rise in the mid-30’s and takes off in the 1940s as a hot topic.

 I’m pleased with these finds and know they are just the “tip of the iceberg” in terms of the history of likely hepatitis strains in the U.S. population.

About Laura

NW Vermont.
This entry was posted in HCV Health, HCV Risks (documented), Medical News, Military Madness, Presumption of Regularity, Vietnam Disease Issues and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Century-old hepatitis miscellany from Minnesota

  1. hepper74 says:

    I wonder how many folks contracted Hepatitis when they had the inoculation carts along the streets in the 50’s?

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