|(no longer in technical use) pathol Also called (formerly): the king's evil tuberculosis of the lymphatic glands|
|[C14: from Medieval Latin, from Late Latin scrōfulae swollen glands in the neck, literally: little sows (sows were thought to be particularly prone to the disease), from Latin scrōfa sow]|
scrofula scrof·u·la (skrŏf'yə-lə)
A form of tuberculosis affecting the lymph nodes, especially of the neck, that is most common in children and is usually spread by unpasteurized milk from infected cows. Also called struma.
formerly tuberculosis, the terms "scrofulous," "strumous," and "tuberculous" being nearly interchangeable in the past, before the real nature of the disease was understood. The particular characteristics associated with scrofula have varied at different periods, but essentially what was meant was tuberculosis of the bones and lymphatic glands, especially in children. It is in this sense that the word survives. The old English popular name was "king's evil," so called from the belief that the sovereign's touch could effect a cure. See also tuberculosis.
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