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Volume 16, Number 5—May 2010


Etymologia: Tropheryma whipplei

[tro-fer’ĭ-mə wi’-pəl-ē-ī]

The genus name of this gram-positive, rod-shaped, soil-dwelling bacterium was taken from Greek trophe (nourishment) and eryma (barrier) because malabsorption was a feature of the infection it caused. The species name honors George Hoyt Whipple (1878–1976), an American pathologist and medical educator, who, in 1907, first described the clinical syndrome later known as Whipple’s disease. In 1991, when sections of the genome were sequenced, the organism was named T. whippelii; the spelling was corrected in 2001.


  1. La Scola B, Fenollar F, Fournier P-E, Altwegg M, Mallet M-N, Raoult D. Description of Tropheryma whipplei gen. nov., sp. nov, the Whipple’s disease bacillus. Int J Syst Evol Microbiol. 2001;51:14719.PubMed
  2. Bousbia S, Papazian L, Auffray J-P, Fenollar F, Martin C, Li W, Tropheryma whipplei in patients with pneumonia. Emerg Infect Dis. 2010;16:25863.PubMed

DOI: 10.3201/eid1605.E11605

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