tropical sprue


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sprue

 [sproo]
a chronic form of malabsorption syndrome occurring in both tropical and nontropical forms.
celiac sprue (nontropical sprue) celiac disease.
tropical sprue a chronic disease affecting the digestive system, marked by imperfect absorption of food elements, especially fat, xylose, and vitamin B12, from the small intestine. It is closely related to celiac disease and may be identical to it.



The name sprue derives from a Dutch word describing inflammation of the mouth, which is a frequent symptom. The disease has been recognized for more than 2000 years. It occurs mostly, but not exclusively, in the tropics.
Symptoms and Treatment. Symptoms are loss of appetite, flatulence, anemia, diarrhea, stomach cramps, and extreme loss of weight. Stools are usually pale, greasy, unformed, and foul-smelling, but at times become watery. If a deficiency of vitamin B complex is also present, cracks develop at the corners of the mouth and the tongue becomes smooth, glossy, and bright red.



Treatment consists of a special diet of foods that are low in fat and high in protein. Diets free of gluten, a viscid grain protein, may be prescribed. Liver preparations, folic acid, calcium lactate tablets, vitamin B12, and iron supplements to provide food elements that are not absorbed, as well as skim milk and ripe bananas, have produced favorable results. Antibiotics have proved temporarily successful, but their prolonged use is not recommended.

Cases of sprue that are recognized early respond better to treatment than do cases of long standing. Appetite and weight return rapidly. The time required for complete recovery is prolonged, however, especially in extreme cases.

tropical sprue

a malabsorption syndrome of unknown cause that is endemic in the tropics and subtropics. It is characterized by abnormalities in the mucosa of the small intestine, resulting in protein malnutrition and multiple nutritional deficiencies, often complicated by severe infection. Symptoms include diarrhea, anorexia, and weight loss. Megaloblastic anemia may result from folic acid and vitamin B12 deficiency. Treatment includes administration of antibiotics, particularly tetracycline; folic acid; iron; calcium; and vitamins A, D, K, and B complex; as well as a balanced diet high in protein and normal in fat content. See also nontropical sprue.

tropical sprue

Tropical medicine An idiopathic malabsorption complex, described in the tropics, occurring either in miniepidemics, or in recent arrivals to a region; it has been linked to either subclinical defects of certain nutrients–protein, folate, vitamin B12, fats and sugars or an as yet unidentified pathogen, resulting in diarrhea-induced weakness that favors the overgrowth of coliform bacteria indigenous to the tropics Clinical Malaise, fever, anorexia, intermittent diarrhea, chronic malabsorption, which in the epidemic form first affects adults; prolonged malabsorption causes vitamin deficiencies, muscle wasting, mucocutaneous pigmentation, edema Treatment Folic acid, vitamin B12, broad-spectrum antibiotics–eg, tetracycline, intraluminal sulfonamides. Cf Celiac sprue.

trop·i·cal sprue

(trop'ik-ăl sprū)
A disorder that occurs in warmer climates, often associated with enteric infection and nutritional deficiency, and frequently complicated by folate deficiency with macrocytic anemia.
Synonym(s): tropical diarrhea.

tropical sprue

A disorder of food absorption, of unknown cause, occurring in people living in or visiting the tropics or developing months or years after residence in the tropics. There is loss of appetite and weight, distention of the abdomen, anaemia and fatty diarrhoea. The condition responds well to treatment with antibiotics, vitamin B12 and folate.