Scurvy in an unrepentant carnivore.Cutis 2000; 66(1):39-44C
For centuries, scurvy, or vitamin C deficiency, decimated crews of sailing ships on long sea voyages and populations deprived of fresh fruits and vegetables during times of war or famine. Today, scurvy is extremely rare in the United States, and its classic findings of perifollicular petechiae, edema and purpura of the lower extremities, corkscrew hairs, and hemorrhagic gingivitis may go unrecognized. We report the case of a man from rural Appalachia who developed typical signs and symptoms of scurvy on two separate occasions, approximately 2 years apart. Both times, the patient underwent an extensive work-up and was diagnosed with numerous other conditions before his vitamin C deficiency was recognized. We discuss the clinical presentation, pathophysiology, diagnosis, and treatment of scurvy, with attention to specific findings that should alert the clinician to this diagnosis.