Online Exhibits@Yale

War Nephritis

Medical Diseases of the War

Passage on war nephritis in Arthur F. Furst, Medical Diseases of War. London, 1918.

War Nephritis: The Civil War saw an outbreak of cases of acute nephritis, and the frequency of cases during World War I prompted Arthur Hurst to identify a “war nephritis”, probably due to some specific infection.  The disease was only mildly contagious and manifested itself by edema, severe headache, vertigo, and breathlessness.  Rest and diet were the recommended treatments.  The disease rarely caused death, though recovery could be a matter of weeks to months.  Hurst speculated that “it is not a specific disease, but is a form of nephritis occurring among soldiers and presenting certain unusual features as a result of the very different conditions of life of a war-worn soldier.”

War Nephritis