My brother and I are researching our family tree, and in our extended ancestry, there is a person who is registered on their death certificate to have died June 1858, of diphtherite. I wondered if it was the same as diphtheria and did some searching online.
Apart from loads of hits on diphtheria as a suggested alternative when just searching
"diphtherite" (with the speech marks) in Google, I came across a piece called An Essay on Diphtheria by W. Davis MD of Paris, Illinios in a large 1861 book called The Medical Examiner; a Semi-monthly Journal of Medical Sciences, Volume 2 edited by Nathan Smith Davis MD and Frank W. Reilly MD and it has me confused.
First of all, right at the beginning (Page 79), it says (emphasis mine)
Diphtheria or diphtherite has occupied much space in the medical journals, and engaged much attention in the past year.
So, initially I thought, yes it is the same. But, later the essay says (Page 85)
Our patients did not die of diphtheria, they were killed by diphtherite.
the way to cure diphtheria is to cure diphtherite.
Admittedly I was just skimming the essay for now using highlighting of
diphtherite provided by Google Books, but can an someone clear this up as I cannot seem to find anything that clearly defines the difference. Or am I missing something with the skimming through?