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Whipple Disease

Overview
  • Whipple Disease is caused by systemic infection with the gram positive organism Tropheryma whippelii; however, the subsequent pathogenesis of this condition is cryptic.
Morphology
  • Characteristically, the small intestine mucosa is filled with macrophages laden with PAS-positive granules that contain the partially digested organisms. These microbe-filled macrophages are also present in heart valves and joints causing additional functional derangements at these locations.
Clinical Consequences
  • GI System: Steatorrhea and weight loss
  • Heart: Cardiac abnormalities
  • Joint: Arthritis
Treatment
  • Antibiotics are highly effective.