Definition/Scope: Zymotic diseases (for the Greek language term zumoun for "ferment"), an obsolete term in medicine, formerly applied to the class of acute infectious maladies, presumed to be due to some virus or organism which acts in the system like a ferment. This term has been obsolete since 1911. The definition from that time period was as follows: the term included the diseases which were "epidemic, endemic and contagious," and were regarded as owing their origin to the presence of a morbific principle in the system, acting in a manner analogous to, although not identical with, the process of fermentation. A large number of diseases were accordingly included under this designation. The term, however, came to be restricted in medical nomenclature to the chief fevers and contagious diseases (e.g. typhus and typhoid fevers, smallpox, scarlet fever, measles, erysipelas, cholera, whooping-cough, diphtheria, &c.). The science of bacteriology has displaced the old fermentation theory, and the term has practically dropped out of use. Zyme or microzyme was the name of a germ presumed to be the cause of zymotic diseases.
Broader Terms:communicable diseases
Related Terms:bacterial diseases