Dysentery is a serious condition affecting the large intestine. It is characterized by inflammation and ulceration of the bowel, a colic pain in the region of the abdomen and passing of liquid or semi-formed stones with mucus and blood.
(1) Dysentery may be acute and chronic. The acute form is characterized by pain in the abdomen, diarrhea and dysenteric motions.
(2) Yellowish white mucus and sometimes only blood from the intestinal ulcers passes with stools. The evacuations are preceded by pain and tenesmus.
(3) The patient feels a constant desire to evacuate, although there may be nothing to throw off except a little mucus and blood there is a feeling of pain in the rectum and along the large intestine.
(4) With the advance of the disease the quantity of mucus and blood increases. Occasionally casts or shreds of skin line mucous membrane, from small fragments to 12 inches or so long and an inch wide, are seen to pass out with motions.
(5) Sometimes pus is also thrown out with motions and often the smell of the stools becomes very fetid. All the digestive processes are upset and secretions are changed or stopped.
(6) The saliva becomes acid instead of being alkaline and the gastric juice itself may become alkaline. The stomach loses power to digest and absorb food.
(7) The bacilli create toxins and the fetid matters formed also augment further manufacture of toxins and consequent absorption in blood.
(8) Chronic cases are after-effects of acute attacks.
The patient does not recover completely. Stool remains putrid and may contain blood, while diarrhea and constipation may alternate, and general health is disturbed. In severe cases, the temperature may rise to 104 - 105 o F. It may occasionally become subnormal also.