PUERPERAL FEVER (Lat. puerpcra, from puer, child, and parere, to bring forth), the name given to the varieties of general infection, long regarded as a specific disease (" child-bed fever," " lying-in fever "), to which women are subject after parturition, owing to the genital tract being peculiarly exposed, in septic surroundings, to the invasion of pathogenic bacteria (see SEPSIS). Owing largely to the labours of I. P. Semmelweiss (q .11.) the grave mortality formerly attending this condition has been enormously reduced; and the necessity of rigid cleanliness in the treatment of lying-in cases is fully recognized. When unhappily this is not the case, and infection takes place, its complications must be treated according to the circumstances, antiseptic douching being employed, or preferably curetting the endometrium with a sharp curette and swabbing with disinfectant solution. In definitely septicaemic cases antistreptococcic serum may be useful.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)