Small intestine & ampulla


Tropical sprue

Topic Completed: 1 August 2012

Minor changes: 18 November 2020

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

Hanni Gulwani, M.B.B.S.
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Cite this page: Gulwani H. Tropical sprue. website. Accessed December 6th, 2021.
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

Contributed by Hanni Gulwani, M.B.B.S.

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

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