Tropical Sprue

Tropical sprue is a disease of unknown etiology that exclusively affects people living in or visiting specific tropical or semitropical areas, particularly Southeast Asia and the Caribbean, that resembles celiac disease in its intestinal changes. It presents with stea-torrhea, abdominal cramps, bloating, and increased bowel sounds. Most patients improve or are cured with long-term broad-spectrum antibiotic treatment. Fluid and electrolyte replacement should be administered to the acutely dehydrated patient, and megaloblastic anemia is often secondary to folate or B12 deficiency, which should be corrected. Vitamin A deficiency may be an important feature. Sometimes, iron, calcium, or magnesium may be deficient, and these minerals should be replaced. Antibiotic treatment may be helpful.

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