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trench fever

n. (context medicine English) an acute infectious disease, caused by the microorganism ''Rickettsia quintana'' and transmitted by the louse ''Pediculus humanus'', that affected very many soldiers during World War I.

trench fever

n. marked by pain in muscles and joints and transmitted by lice

Trench fever

Trench fever (also known as "five-day fever", "quintan fever" (febris quintana in Latin), and "urban trench fever") is a moderately serious disease transmitted by body lice. It infected armies in Flanders, France, Poland, Galicia, Italy, Salonika, Macedonia, Mesopotamia, and Egypt in World War I (three noted sufferers being the authors J.R.R. Tolkien, A. A. Milne, and C.S. Lewis), and the German army in Russia during World War I. From 1915 to 1918 between one-fifth and one-third of all British troops reported ill had trench fever while about one-fifth of ill German and Austrian troops had the disease. The disease persists among the homeless. Outbreaks have been documented, for example, in Seattle and Baltimore in the United States among injection drug users and in Marseille, France, and Burundi.

Trench fever is also called Wolhynia fever, shin bone fever, Meuse fever, His disease and His–Werner disease (after Wilhelm His, Jr. and Heinrich Werner).

The disease is caused by the bacterium Bartonella quintana (older names: Rochalimea quintana, Rickettsia quintana), found in the stomach walls of the body louse. Bartonella quintana is closely related to Bartonella henselae, the agent of cat scratch fever and bacillary angiomatosis.

Usage examples of "trench fever".

Influenza and trench fever swept the ranks, affecting soldiers and officers alike.

Tolkien contracted a particularly bad case of trench fever and was shipped back to England in late 1916.

Because body lice are carriers of deadly typhus, as well as trench fever and relapsing fever, their presence during these times has amplified the prevailing misery and mortality.