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July 7, 1945


JAMA. 1945;128(10):734-735. doi:10.1001/jama.1945.02860270036013

In an address before the Filson Club in Louisville, Ky., Philip D. Jordan1 of Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, reviewed a valuable chapter in medical history of pioneer days in this country. The once mysterious "milk sickness" for over a hundred years was a scourge among many endemic ills which beset early settlers throughout the Middle West. It affected cattle and man alike. Little was written about it before the great period of colonization in the first half of the nineteenth century. The disease was variously designated as swamp sickness, tires, distemper or trembles. First heard of in Virginia and on the upper Ohio, it soon became common enough in Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana and the Illinois country.

The symptoms, always incident to the drinking of milk, were dizziness, increasing lassitude, loss of appetite, nausea followed by vomiting, constipation, subnormal temperature, intense thirst and the odor of acetone. This condition in