Tropical sprue in 2014: the new face of an old disease.

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Tropical sprue (TS), once known to be a common cause of malabsorption syndrome (MAS) in India and other tropical countries, is believed to be uncommon currently in spite of contrary evidence. Several recent studies from India showed TS to be the commonest cause of sporadic MAS in Indian adults. TS is diagnosed in patients presenting with suggestive clinical presentation, which cannot be explained by another cause of MAS and investigations revealing malabsorption of two unrelated substances, abnormal small-intestinal mucosal histology, which responds to treatment with antibiotics such as tetracycline and folic acid. There is substantial overlap between TS and postinfectious irritable bowel syndrome. There have been several advances in epidemiology, pathogenesis, and diagnosis of TS, hitherto an enigmatic condition.

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