The French labeled it "fieve aigue," owing to its connection with fever and chills, while the English simply called it "the ague."
Often when people travel in the autumn, they find all the inhabitants of one cabin down with the fever, from the immigrant to his youngest son.'" Pressed why settlers would persist, the man simply said: "'They are resigned to it, as they await a better future.'" Certainly many Michigan pioneers did accept "forest fever" (the ague) as part of acclimating themselves to a new land.
Still others suffered from what was called the ague. This sickness entirely unnerved the patient while the attack lasted, but as soon as the fever passed, the person was again ready to resume his work.
While sufferers gained some immunity, they were always subject to a new bout of the ague when next visited by a carrier mosquito.
Whole villages could be temporarily immobilized, while their residents "would crawl about like yellow ghosts." (Sufferers were often jaundiced and had enlarged spleens, referred to as "ague cakes.") A man whose family settled in Michigan when he was a child recalled: "My father shook with the ague every day for eighteen months; there were ten all down at once, my mother, the only one able to administer the cup of cold water and care for the sick.
His book on fevers (1666), which was later expanded into Observationes Medicae (1676), a standard text for 2 centuries, includes extensive details of agues, with descriptions of the course of paroxysms, the periodicity of tertians versus quartans, and the seasonality of the disease.
In the end, popularization of the drug came in a highly unorthodox manner: a relatively untutored man, Robert Talbor, abandoned his apprenticeship to an apothecary to develop a safe dosage and an effective treatment regimen: "I planted myself in Essex near the sea side, in a place where agues are the epidemical diseases, where you will find but few persons but either are, or have been afflicted with a tedious quartan." After several years of study and testing, he developed what we would now call a patent medicine, a secret formulation that was essentially an infusion of cinchona powder in white wine.
In 1672, Talbor popularized his remedy by publishing Pyretologia: a Rational Account of the Cause and Cures of Agues. The success of his treatments became widely known and brought him rapid fame and fortune.
The English word for malaria was ague, a term that remained in common usage until the 19th century.
Contemporary accounts of the distribution of ague in 16th and 17th century England reflect the ecology and distribution of this species.
If water is squeezed that quickly out of crystals 10 to 20 kilometers below the surface, it soon fills pores in the rock and is left with nowhere to go, Ague says.
"If the fault seals up after an earthquake, the reactions keep going and fluid pressure builds up again," Ague says, "so this process could happen over and over."