The lining of your small intestine has fine, hair-like projections (villi) that help your body absorb nutrients. Whipple's disease damages the villi, impairing nutrient absorption. Nutritional deficiencies are common in people with Whipple's disease and can lead to fatigue, weakness, weight loss and joint pain.

Whipple's disease is a progressive and potentially fatal disease. Although the infection is rare, associated deaths continue to be reported, due in large part to late diagnoses and delayed treatment. Death often is caused by the spread of the infection to the central nervous system, which can cause irreversible damage.

Nov. 20, 2012

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