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Scand J Gastroenterol. 1997 Jan;32(1):52-7.

Epidemiology of Whipple's disease in Germany. Analysis of 110 patients diagnosed in 1965-95.

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Institute of Pathology, University of Heidelberg, Germany.



The epidemiology of Whipple's disease (WD) is obscure. To obtain basic data, we performed an evaluation of WD patients in Germany.


Information was collected from 110 WD patients diagnosed during 1965-95 at 5 institutions in different regions of Germany. Four items were evaluated: 1) year in which the diagnosis was made; 2) residence and 3) age at the time of diagnosis; and 4) sex.


WD patients originated from all parts of Germany. The incidence of new cases was relatively stable, with a mean of one to two cases per year per collecting centre. In 1995, a maximum of 13 new WD patients was diagnosed. There was a significant increase in the mean age of patients (1965-75, 48.7 years; confidence interval, +/- 3.98 years; 1976-85, 50.7 years, +/- 3.69 years; 1986-95, 57.0 years, +/- 2.80 years; P < 0.01) and an increasing proportion of women (1965-85, 4%; 1986-1995, 22%).


Whipple's disease is not quite as rare as commonly assumed. There is no obvious geographic predominance. During the past three decades, the demography of WD patients has changed.

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