Tropheryma whipplei in patients with pneumonia

Emerg Infect Dis. 2010 Feb;16(2):258-63. doi: 10.3201/eid1602.090610.


Tropheryma whipplei is the etiologic pathogenic agent of Whipple disease (WD), characterized by various clinical signs, such as diarrhea, weight loss, lymphadenopathy, and polyarthritis. PCR-based methods for diagnosis of WD have been developed. T. whipplei has been identified in saliva and stool samples from patients with WD and from healthy persons. T. whipplei DNA has also been found in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) samples of a child with pneumonia. We detected DNA of T. whipplei in 6 (3%) of 210 BAL samples collected in intensive care units by using 16S rDNA and specific quantitative PCR. We identified 4 novel genotypes of T. whipplei. In 1 case, T. whipplei was the only bacterium; in 4 others, it was associated with buccal flora. We suggest that T. whipplei should be investigated as an etiologic agent of pneumonia.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Actinomycetales Infections / microbiology*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid / microbiology*
  • Community-Acquired Infections / microbiology
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pneumonia, Bacterial / microbiology*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Population Surveillance
  • Saliva / microbiology
  • Tropheryma / isolation & purification*
  • Young Adult