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The etiology of this affection is somewhat obscure, and its medical literature rather scanty. The disease has appeared in the United States and Europe in certain localities, both in epidemic and sporadic form. Like all erysipelatous affections, it possesses contagious properties. But the most frequent cause appears to be some mysterious epidemic influence which invades certain localities and sections, expends its septic properties, and probably disappears never to return in the same region. In a certain limited district in my knowledge, erysipelas of the throat of a very malignant type prevailed some thirty-two years since. I am not aware that it has ever returned to that particular locality.
Epidemic erysipelas of the pharynx, because of the peculiar dark appearance of the tongue, has in certain districts received the appellation of "black tongue." In other localities it has popularly been termed "choke disease," because of the rapid tendency to suffocation, from
BROWN B. ERYSIPELAS OF THE PHARYNX AND LARYNX, EPIDEMIC AND SPORADIC.. JAMA. 1887;IX(1):11–13. doi:10.1001/jama.1887.04360030010002
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