Whipple's disease

Rima El-Abassi, Michael Y Soliman, Frank Williams, John D England
Journal of the Neurological Sciences 2017 June 15, 377: 197-206
Whipple's disease is a rare, chronic, systemic infectious disorder with prominent intestinal manifestations. It presents with weight loss, arthralgia, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. There are different entities of infection or carriage, respectively, classical Whipple's disease, localized WD, and Isolated Neurological WD. The disease is commonly diagnosed by biopsy of lymph node or small-bowel. Histological detection within duodenal biopsies with "Periodic acid Schiff" (PAS) staining still is first choice for the diagnosis of classical Whipple's disease. PCR or immunohistochemistry can identify the agent more specifically, and DNA sequencing for Tropheryma whipplei on lymphocytes from blood and cerebrospinal fluid from PCR-positive specimens, is essential. Cell-mediated immunity in active and inactive Whipple's disease has subtle defects that might predispose some individuals to symptomatic infection with this bacillus. Successful treatment can be achieved in most of the cases by antimicrobial therapy. WD can be progressive lethal. Immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome (IRIS) might complicate the course of treatment and in worst case end fatal.

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