Organon §38

If the new dissimilar disease is stronger, it will suspend the older disease, but never cure it.

ii. Or the new dissimilar disease is stronger. In this case, the weaker disease that the patient already has is postponed and suspended by the stronger supervening disease until the new one has run its course or been cured, and then the old one comes forth again uncured. 

Ringworm suspended epilepsy. 

1. Two children afflicted with a kind of epilepsy remained free from epileptic attacks after infection with ringworm (tinea capitis) but as soon as the eruption on the head passed, the epilepsy was there again just as before, according to Tulpius. 79

Scurvy suspended the itch diathesis.

2. The itch diathesis disappeared on the occurrence of scurvy, but after the scurvy was cured, the itch diathesis came to light again, according to Schцpf. 80

Typhus suspended pulmonary tuberculosis. 

3. A case of ulcerous pulmonary tuberculosis stood still while the patient was seized by a violent typhus, but continued its progress after the typhus had run its course, according to Chevalier. 81

Mania suspends pulmonary tuberculosis. 

4. If mania occurs in a person with pulmonary tuberculosis, the tuberculosis with all it symptoms is taken away by the mania. But if the mania passes off, the tuberculosis immediately returns and kills, according to Reil. 82

Smallpox suspended measles. 

5. When measles and smallpox were reigning at the same time, and both infected the same child, the measles that had already broken out was usually halted in its course by the smallpox that broke out somewhat later. The measles did not resume its course until after the smallpox healed. 

Measles suspended the formation of pox pustules following smallpox vaccination. 

6. [Manget, Hunter and Rainey all report cases of reaction to smallpox vaccination being suspended by measles.] Manget noticed that an eruption from smallpox vaccination was not-infrequently suspended for four days by the emergence of measles, resuming its course to the end after the desquamation of the measles. 83 John Hunter reported that even six days after a smallpox vaccination had already taken, a case of measles broke out and the inflammation from the vaccination stood still. The pox did not break out until the measles had completed its course of seven days. 84 Rainey wrote about many cases in a measles epidemic in which the measles came on four or five days after the smallpox vaccination and impeded the pox from forming. The pox came forth and ran its course only after the measles had completely run its course. 85

Cowpox suspended scarlet fever and scarlet fever suspended cowpox. 

7. Sydenham’s true, smooth, erysipelas-like scarlet fever 86 with sore throat, was checked on the fourth day by the outbreak of cowpox, which ran its course fully to the end. Not until it was ended did the scarlet fever resume. But since these two diseases seem to be of equal strength, it has also happened that scarlet fever suspended cowpox. Jenner reports that cowpox was interrupted on the eighth day by the beginning of a case of Sydenham’s true, smooth scarlet fever. The red areola of the cowpox disappeared until the scarlet fever was over, whereupon the cowpox immediately resumed its course and went on to its regular termination. 87

Measles suspended cowpox

8. Kortum observed a case of cowpox that was suddenly suspended near its fullness, on the eighth day, by the outbreak of measles. The cowpox remained stationary until after the desquamation of the measles, when the cowpox resumed its regular course to completion. It resumed its course in such a way that it appeared on the sixteenth day as it normally would have on the tenth. 88

Measles suspended smallpox vaccination. 

9. Kortum also reported a case where a cowpox inoculation was given after the measles had already broken out. The inoculation took, but it ran its course only after the measles was over. 89

Smallpox vaccination suspended mumps.

I myself saw a case of mumps (angina parotidea) immediately disappear when a cowpox inoculation had taken effect and nearly attained its fullness. It was only after the full course of cowpox and the disappearance of its red areola that the feverish swelling of the parotid and submaxillary glands emerged again from its own miasm (the mumps) and ran its regular course of seven days. And so it is with all dissimilar diseases: the stronger suspends the weaker (unless they complicate one another, which is seldom the case with acute diseases) but they never cure one another.


79 Tulpius. Obs., lib. I, obs. 8.

80 Schцpf, in Hufeland’s Journal der practischen Arzneikunde [Journal of Practical Medicine], vol. XV, p. 2.

81 Chevalier, in Hufeland’s Neuesten Annalen der franzцsischen Heilkunde [Newest Annals of the French Medical Art], vol. II, p. 192.

82 «Mania phthisi superveniens eam cum omnibus suis phaenomenis aufert, verum mox redit phthisis et occidit, abeunte mania.» [Mania coming on top of tuberculosis removes it and all of its symptoms, but the tuberculosis soon returns and is fatal, once the mania departs.] (Reil, Memorab., fasc. III, p. 171).

83 Manget, in Medical Commentaries of Edinburgh, vol. I, p. 1.

84 John Hunter, On the Venereal Diseases, p. 5.

85 Rainey, in Medical Commentaries of Edinburgh, vol. III, p. 480.

86 Sydenham’s true, smooth, erysipelas-like scarlet fever is also very accurately described by Withering and Plenciz. It differs greatly from the purpura miliaris (or roodvonk) fever which has also, falsely, been called scarlet fever. It is only in recent years that the two, which were originally very different diseases, have come to resemble each other in their symptoms.

87 Jenner, in Medicinische Annalen [Medical Annals], August 1800, p. 747.

88 Kortum, in Hufeland’s Journal der practischen Arzneikunde [Journal of Practical Medicine], vol. XX, no. 3, p. 50.

89 Ibid.