This information is provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD).
Whipple disease is an infectious bacterial disease that affects many different organ systems and interferes with the body’s ability to process (metabolize) fats. The disease usually occurs in the gastrointestinal system, but may affect any part of the body including the heart, lungs, brain, joints, and eyes. In the gastrointestinal system, it interferes with the body’s ability to absorb certain nutrients. This leads to a condition known as malabsorption. Whipple disease causes weight loss, incomplete breakdown of carbohydrates or fats, and problems with the immune system. It is caused by infection from bacteria called Tropheryma whipplei. When recognized and treated, Whipple disease can usually be cured. Untreated, the disease may be fatal.
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