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Whipple's Disease

This is a rare bacterial infection caused by an organism called Tropheryma whipplei. The organism infects the small bowel and causes damage to the intestinal lining, which results in symptoms of abdominal pain, weight loss and anaemia. It is usually seen in people working outside or with waste water and sewage. For this reason it has historically been commonest in men of working age. If left untreated it may also cause more systemic symptoms including fatigue, arthritis fever, cough and neurological symptoms. If left untreated it can be fatal. It is usually treated with antibiotics.

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