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Papers And Originals

Malabsorption in Overland Travellers to India

Br Med J 1974; 3 doi: (Published 10 August 1974) Cite this as: Br Med J 1974;3:380
  1. A. M. Tomkins,
  2. W. P. T. James,
  3. J. H. Walters,
  4. A. C. E. Cole


    Thirty-four cases of malabsorption are described in young adults after brief periods of overland travel to India. Symptoms included diarrhoea, abdominal distension, and weight loss. Investigation revealed fat, xylose, and vitamin B12 malabsorption with marked morphological changes in the mucosa. Lower levels of serum folate and vitamin B12 were observed in those with protracted diarrhoea, but no anaemia developed. Malabsorption may persist for many months after return to the U.K. Most patients responded initially to antibiotics, but some subsequently relapsed. The reasons why these patients developed tropical sprue are discussed.