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Poisoning Lead-Poisoning

disease, dysentery, bowels, occurs and gangrenous

POISONING ; LEAD-POISONING. Dress-goods, wall-paper, and other articles containing poisonous dyes may cause chronic poisoning by inhalation of the dust or vapours arising in their manufacture. Such cases of poisoning usually manifest themselves by nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and severe head aches ; or by external symptoms, such as skin-diseases, or inflammation of the eyes. See OCCUPATION DISEASES.

DYSENTERY.—An acute or chronic infectious disease, the seat of which is in the large intestine. It occurs in all climates, but most frequently and most severely in warm countries. In the temperate latitudes it occurs chiefly in summer and at the beginning of autumn ; sometimes, especially in times of war, it occurs in the form of epidemics. The infectious principle is contained in the discharges from the bowels of the patients. Infection in most cases is brought about by the drinking of water which is contaminated by excremental substances. Owing to the general improvements made with regard to water-supplies, the frequency of the disease has greatly diminished during the last decades. Among the causes which directly give rise to the outbreak of dysentery are colds, and errors in diet, especially the eating of decayed food, unripe food, or of food not readily digestible. To these must he added certain bacteria. Three forms of the disease are to he distinguished : Catarrhal, gangrenous, and chronic dysentery.

Catarrhal dysentery begins generally as a simple diarrhoea. After one or several days, abdominal pains, located especially in the region of the navel, and painful but unsuccessful efforts to evacuate the bowels (lenesmus) occur. The stools assume the appearance which is characteristic of the

disease, consisting either of small quantities (rarely more than a table spoonful) of glassy mucus with bloody streaks, or of blood-coloured mucus. The discharges from the bowels become more and more frequent, and the abdominal pains as well as the tenesmus also increase in severity. The number of movements within twenty-four hours may be 20, 30, or more. If the disease progresses, the conditions of the stools usually changes after several days. They consist then of a yellowish or reddish fluid upon which float yellow, reddish or red particles which resemble chopped meat and are composed of blood and mucus. The appetite is lost. The strength of the patient diminishes considerably and rapidly. The disease, if treated correctly, lasts rarely more than a week. In some instances, however, it may be protracted for several weeks.

Gangrenous dysentery may begin as the catarrhal form, but in this affection the stools are changed into a brownish-red or blackish, smeary fluid of putrid odour, which contains smaller or larger gangrenous portions of the intestinal wall. The movements of the bowels are extremely frequent, too times and more in twenty-four hours, so that the patients are actually unable to leave the commode. Great weakness is present at the same time. Death is usually due to exhaustion.