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Tropical sprue (TS) is a common digestive disorder noticed in visitors to or residents of tropical regions. Find out about the causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of this disease.

Tropical Sprue Definition

This is a contagious digestive disorder that results in malabsorption in patients. It is primarily restricted to the tropical and subtropical regions.

The disease was described for the first time in 1759 by Dr. William Hillary in Barbados.

Tropical Sprue Meaning

People suffering from TS are not able to absorb food nutrients properly. They are especially found to have problems in absorbing folic acid and vitamin B12. In healthy individuals, small intestines consist of finger-like projections known as villi which provide additional surface area for absorption of nutrients. In TS patients, the villi are flattened, which makes absorption of nutrients difficult. TS also causes inflammation of the small intestinal lining.