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West Indian Medical Journal

Print version ISSN 0043-3144


WHITTLE, DO et al. Whipple's disease in an Afro-Caribbean national. West Indian med. j. [online]. 2014, vol.63, n.1, pp. 101-104. ISSN 0043-3144.

Whipple's disease is a rare multi-organ infectious disease caused by Tropheryma whipplei. It is fatal without treatment. We report on a 40-year old Afro-Jamaican man who presented with a six-month history of weight loss and diarrhoea. Investigations revealed iron deficiency anaemia and hypoalbuminaemia. Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy revealed white patchy lesions in the duodenum. The duodenal biopsy showed broadening and thickening of the villi by a dense infiltrate of foamy histiocytes within the lamina propria and focally extending into the attached submucosa. Periodic Acid-Schiff stains were positive. Electron microscopy was confirmatory and polymerase chain reaction testing conclusively identified the organisms as T whipplei. Antibiotic treatment resulted in resolution of symptoms. Although the diagnosis of Whipple's disease is difficult, increased awareness should lead to an increase in reported cases with the improvements in diagnostic capabilities.

Keywords : Antibiotic; diarrhoea; Tropheryma whipplei; Whipple's disease.

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