Neurologic disease in patients with treated Whipple's disease

Medicine (Baltimore). 1976 Nov;55(6):467-76. doi: 10.1097/00005792-197611000-00003.


Four patients with Whipple's disease which had responded to antibiotic therapy, later developed neurologic disease identical to that seen in patients with Whipple's disease who died without treatment. Dementia, myoclonus, ataxia, and supranuclear ophthalmoplegia were the main neurologic features. Restarting antibiotics has been followed by stabilization of disease in all four. Two have improved. In three, the previously diagnosed and treated Whipple's disease was not considered as a possible cause of the neurologic disease until the symptoms and signs were far advanced. It is advisable to periodically evaluate all patients with Whipple's disease, even after successful treatment. Signs of neurologic disease should be considered a possible recurrence of Whipple's disease and antibiotics restarted.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Dementia / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory Disorders / etiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Nervous System Diseases / etiology*
  • Penicillins / therapeutic use
  • Tetracycline / therapeutic use
  • Whipple Disease / complications*
  • Whipple Disease / drug therapy
  • Whipple Disease / pathology


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Penicillins
  • Tetracycline