Munson Health
Whipple's Disease

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by Rosenblum L

(Intestinal Lipodystrophy)



This disease can affect many parts of the body. The small intestine is the main organ affected. Symptoms usually begin slowly and occur in stages. The first stage includes:
  • Pain in the joints (in 90% of cases)
  • Fever
The disease is usually not diagnosed until several years later when additional symptoms may develop. These include:
If the disease is not treated, this second stage may last for a number of years. Then, more severe symptoms may occur due to the lack of nutrients reaching different parts of the body. Symptoms may occur in any part of the body, but most likely the heart, nervous system, brain, lungs, eyes, or skin. If the disease still is not treated, it usually causes death in this third stage.


National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

National Organization for Rare Disorders



The Canadian Association of Gastroenterology (CAG)

Health Canada



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Fenollar F, Trani M, et al. Prevalence of asymptomatic Tropheryma whipplei carriage among humans and nonhuman primates. J Infect Dis . 2008;197(6):880-887.

Whipple disease. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: . Updated December 28, 2010. Accessed January 8, 2013.

Whipple's disease. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse website. Available at: . Updated April 30, 2012. Accessed January 8, 2013.

Whipple’s disease: a rare, insidious disorder with serious consequences. Drug and Therapy Perspectives . 1999;13:8-10.


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