View Full Version : Endemic typhus in the 19th Century

07-08-2016, 05:04 PM
All right, I want to give my MC typhus (endemic, not epidemic), but one very specific information eludes me...

In 1874, would a doctor be able to tell the difference between endemic typhus and epidemic typhus?

The connection between body lice and epidemic typhus only seems to have been found during the 1st World War, if I understand things correctly. I don't know when they made the connection between flea bites and endemic typhus.

I basically don't want the other characters to go into full-panic mode and think everyone's about to die. Too much drama. I really like the sound of endemic / murine typhus for my flea-friendly MC, and the incubation period is just right, too, but I'm open to other ideas if I can't make typhus work. I want something that'll knock him out for a couple of days and might be explained by poor living conditions. Eg bad diet / sudden change of diet, fleas, other parasites if necessary...

Can you help me make my MC sick? Thanks! :e2heartbe

07-08-2016, 08:15 PM
Where is your book set?

07-08-2016, 08:54 PM
Oh, sorry. England (specifically, the Lake District).

07-08-2016, 09:28 PM
Epidemic typhus was found to be caused by lice by a Dr Nicolle of the Pasteur Institute, according to this source. http://www.pnas.org/content/93/20/10539.full.pdf

So from that I would probably say no. Except that they may know that not all typhus patients are affected to the same degree so some would survive. But I think the reason why would not be known.

07-08-2016, 10:04 PM
Hmm. That's what I was afraid of! I might give him the typhoid fever instead. He's been bloated since the first chapter, so that would also work quite well.

07-08-2016, 10:56 PM
Sounds a good idea. There was a lot of both around at the time.