Sweating sickness is known to be the worst and the most dangerous disease that shook England during the Tudor period. Thousands of people were dead in the entire continent of Europe. The outbreak was last recorded in 1551 and nothing was heard after that. Unlike other diseases the sweating sickness struck the rich than the poor. The symptoms included a feeling of apprehension, cold shivers, pain in the shoulders, head, neck and limbs. Patients also experienced great exhaustion. After the sweating part was over, the patient was left with delirium, headache, intense thirst, rapid pulse and heart pain. In the final stage, the patient felt great exhaustion and felt the need to sleep. Most of the victims died after getting the disease. Some people got the disease many times before dying.
The symptoms of the sweating sickness were dramatic and sudden. The most important factor is that it struck only the rich and not the poor. And the strange thing is that there were no rashes or other kinds of marks anywhere on the body. Initially, most of the people believed that the disease was transmitted through ticks and fleas. But there were no bite marks found on the victims. Also, if the sickens was caused by the ticks and fleas it should have affected the poor more than the rich. So, nobody was actually able to identify the causes, how it spread, why it affected only the rich and what were the cures used. There were no proper records pertaining to the sweating sickness as well.
Some of the probable causes of the sweating sickness include relapsing fever and Hantavirus. Many people believed that the disease was spread by the ticks and lice during the summer. Hantavirus is also believed to be the reason for causing the deadly illness. The clinical features of the Hantavirus did not match the progression of the disease. Person infected with the virus did not transmit the disease to another person. However, the sweating sickness was believed to be transferred from one person to another quickly.
Sweating sickness was first observed by the physicians during the beginning of the reign of Henry VII. The sickness broke out in the capital as soon as Henry arrived in the capital of London in August 1485. By October the disease killed several thousands of people. Among the dead were six aldermen, two lord mayors and three sheriffs. The disease was quite different from the then known epidemics like plaque, pestilential fever etc. Children and infants were not attacked by the deadly disease. Nothing about the sweating sickness was heard of from 1492 to 1502. A few affluent men died in 1502. Another outbreak occurred in 1507 followed by a third and more severe outbreak in 1517.
The sweating sickness was one of the most dangerous diseases that caused the death of thousands of people in entire Europe during the Tudor era. With not much recorded details available, the reasons for the disease are still not clear. Though it has been associated with various other diseases, most of the features did not match well. However, the greatest thing is that the world did not have to face the sweating sickness after 1551.