Small bowel (small intestine)
Tropical sprue

Author: Hanni Gulwani, M.D. (see Authors page)

Revised: 12 February 2018, last major update August 2012

Copyright: (c) 2003-2018,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Tropical sprue[TI] small bowel full text[sb]

Cite this page: Gulwani, H. Tropical sprue. website. Accessed October 20th, 2018.
Definition / general
  • Also called postinfectious sprue
  • Affects people living in or visiting the tropics, particularly Caribbean (not Jamaica), Africa, India, Southeast Asia, Central / South America (Case Rep Gastroenterol 2010;4:168)
  • Has endemic and epidemic features
  • May be due to E. coli or Haemophilus
  • Symptoms: malabsorption within weeks of acute diarrheal enteric infection
  • Broad spectrum antibiotics (tetracycline), folic acid, vitamin B12
  • No increased risk of intestinal lymphoma
Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Variable villous atrophy (none, partial, total)
  • Injury to entire small bowel (not proximal as in celiac sprue), inflammatory infiltrate, crypt hyperplasia
Microscopic (histologic) images

Images hosted on other servers:

Various images

Images contributed by Dr. Hanni Gulwani:

40 year old man with chronic diarrhea who improved after antibiotics; marked villous atrophy in duodenal biopsy but no increase in intraepithelial lymphocytes