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NINDS Whipple's Disease Information Page

Synonym(s):   Intestinal Lipodystrophy

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What is Whipple's Disease?

Whipple's disease is a multi-system infectious bacterial disease that interferes with the body's ability to metabolize fats. The disorder can affect any system in the body, including the central nervous system, but usually occurs in the gastrointestinal system. Gastrointestinal symptoms may include diarrhea, weight loss, fatigue, weakness, and abdominal bleeding and pain. Neurological symptoms may include abnormalities of eye and facial muscle movements, confusion, seizures, ataxia, memory loss, and vision impairment. Fever, cough, and joint soreness may also be present.

Is there any treatment?

The standard treatment for Whipple's disease is a prolonged course of antibiotics.

What is the prognosis?

Generally, antibiotic treatment to destroy the bacteria that caused the disease results in relief of symptoms. However, the disorder may be persistent despite sustained treatment with antibiotics. Relapses are frequent. With treatment, the disorder can be cured. Untreated, Whipple's disease is fatal.

What research is being done?

The NINDS supports research on disorders that affect the central nervous system such as Whipple's disease. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases also supports research on disorders such as Whipple's disease. Much of this research is aimed at learning more about these disorders and finding ways to prevent, treat, and, ultimately, cure them.

NIH Patient Recruitment for Whipple's Disease Clinical Trials

Organizations

Column1 Column2
National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD)
55 Kenosia Avenue
Danbury, CT   06810
orphan@rarediseases.org
http://www.rarediseases.org
Tel: 203-744-0100 Voice Mail 800-999-NORD (6673)
Fax: 203-798-2291

National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC)
2 Information Way
Bethesda, MD   20892-3570
nddic@info.niddk.nih.gov
http://www.digestive.niddk.nih.gov
Tel: 301-654-3810 800-891-5389



Prepared by:
Office of Communications and Public Liaison
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, MD 20892



NINDS health-related material is provided for information purposes only and does not necessarily represent endorsement by or an official position of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke or any other Federal agency. Advice on the treatment or care of an individual patient should be obtained through consultation with a physician who has examined that patient or is familiar with that patient's medical history.

All NINDS-prepared information is in the public domain and may be freely copied. Credit to the NINDS or the NIH is appreciated.

Last updated March 22, 2011