This section is from the book "A Manual Of Pathology", by Guthrie McConnell. Also available from Amazon: A Manual Of Pathology.
Asiatic Cholera is an acute specific inflammation of the small intestine due to the comma bacillus or vibrio.
The post-mortem appearances differ according to the time at which death occurred. Early in the disease, in the algid form, the intestine is rose-red or purple in color, the mucosa shows numerous petechial hemorrhages, and its surface is covered by a transparent layer of sticky fibrin. The contents of the intestine are thin, watery, and cloudy, and very copious. In it are many small flakes of desquamated epithelium which give rise to the "rice-water" appearance that is characteristic of the condition. The discharges are alkaline, have but little odor, and although some blood may be present, bile is seldom found. In this early stage the solitary and agminated lymph-follicles are enlarged and frequently undergo ulceration. There is no leukocytic infiltration of the deep tissues and usually very little of the mucosa. The large intestine is generally hyperemic, but otherwise negative.
In later cases, after the algid stage has disappeared, the intestine is no longer reddish in color, but is nearly empty, except for the presence of a foul-smelling gas. At this period an enteritis with the formation of a pseudo-membrane frequently occurs. This is a result of the coagulation necrosis of the mucous membrane, particularly of the tips of the villi.