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How frequent are cases of Tropical Sprue?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2006
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How frequent are cases of Tropical Sprue in the U.S. and particularly Florida? Most travelers returning from the Islands and South XXXXXXX transfer through the Miami or Tampa airports.
Posted Sun, 11 Aug 2013 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Jay Patel 4 hours later

Based on the information provided you are wanting to know how often a tropical is spread in USA.

Tropical sprue is rarely reported in USA, even in tampa as far as the government records show.

Here is some more information where are most case reported for tropical sprue.
Tropical sprue occurs in the tropics in a narrow band north and south of the equator to 30° latitude; however, the disease does not occur in all countries within this band. In the Western hemisphere, tropical sprue is particularly prevalent in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Cuba, but is rare or absent in Jamaica and the Bahamas. Tropical sprue is also common in India and to a lesser degree in Burma, Indonesia, Borneo, Malaysia, Singapore, and Vietnam, but is uncommon in Africa, China, and the Middle East . Only rare cases of tropical sprue have been reported in the United States.

Hope it helps, to satisfy your needs. Still feel free to contact me in case of any further concerns/ clarification.

Thanks for the query.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: How frequent are cases of Tropical Sprue? 42 hours later
Dear Doctor Patel:

You are quoting information I already read on the internet. I also found a statement -- "The exact cause of this disorder is not known, however it may be related to environmental and nutritional conditions in the tropical regions where it is most prevalent."

I had hoped you would have access to Health Department information to determine if there were any cases reported in Florida in approximately May of this year. My daughter started with symptoms similar to those of sprue and has tested negative for a wide range of things, but her doctor did not want to run the test for sprue. She has now had diarrhea for over 2 months, with extreme weight loss and anemia.

Possible places for her exposure would have been (1) Tampa airport where she used the restroom, ate from one of the food stands, and waited in a crowd of people for a flight. (2) The particular XXXXXXX flight we use is a "shuttle" between Minneapolis and Tampa, back and forth -- and travelers returning from the islands and South XXXXXXX and cruises almost always make connections in Tampa or Miami.

We also visited some tourist areas in and around Tampa including the Hard Rock Casino and Big Cat Rescue (which just has dirt paths between the animal enclosures, not cement walkways like at zoos) as well as restaurants and a shopping mall.

Do you have any way to check if there have been any reports of sprue on the west coast of Florida or on a XXXXXXX airliner?

Thanks for any assistance you can provide. She feels her doctors have just "kicked her to the curb".
Answered by Dr. Jay Patel 1 hour later

Welcome back, If you see the symptoms matching the tropical sprue in your daughter, please have her treated for it.

Their is no recent report of tropical sprue on department of health of florida nor US department of health. They have old information from 2012 season. Still if you want to search for updates in future you can log on to WWW.WWWW.WW for US records and for florida "" . Its free and every one can track its progress. But they will be updated only if their are an epidemic with to many cases reported by local physician. If few cases are reported its not a major issues for department of health, hence it will be only updated next year if something is noticeable with major change rather then usual reports.

Hope it helps. Please get you daughter treated, having a course of antibiotic do not have serious side effect rather not to treat her.

Please feel free to contact me in case of further concerns.

Thanks again.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: How frequent are cases of Tropical Sprue? 3 hours later
Your last sentence, as follows, doesn't make sense:

"Please get you daughter treated, having a course of antibiotic do not have serious side effect rather not to treat her."

Do you mean have her treated with antibiotics unless she's allergic to antibiotics? Or not treat her unless she has serious side effects? Side effects to what?

Please clarify.
Answered by Dr. Jay Patel 20 minutes later

I am so sorry . Here is what I meant to say, it will not do any harm to take a course of antibiotic treatment for sprue (even if she may not have sprue) as most of the cases are treated on the bases of history of travel and present symptoms. Diagnostic test results comes about 2-3 days later, where 60% dose of medication is already taken (with considering 5 days treatment). So guessing it to be sprue and treating is way better option for now rather then waiting for the diagnostic results to come back.

In other words please get her an antibiotic coverage. As benefit is greater then minor side effects of antibiotics.

Hope this clear the confusion. Still feel free to contact me in case for any concern.
Thanks again
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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