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Infantile scurvy: an old diagnosis revisited with a modern dietary twist.
Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) is necessary for the formation of collagen, reducing free radicals, and aiding in iron absorption. Scurvy, a disease of dietary ascorbic acid deficiency, is uncommon today. Indeed, implementation of dietary recommendations largely eradicated infantile scurvy in the US in the early 1900s. We present a case of an otherwise healthy 2-year-old Caucasian girl who presented with refusal to walk secondary to pain in her lower extremities, generalized irritability, sleep disturbance, and malaise. The girl's parents described feeding the patient an organic diet recommended by the Church of Scientology that included a boiled mixture of organic whole milk, barley, and corn syrup devoid of fruits and vegetables. Physical examination revealed pale, bloated skin with edematous, violaceous gums and loosening of a few of her teeth. Dermatologic findings included xerosis, multiple scattered ecchymoses of the extremities, and perifollicular hemorrhage. Laboratory and radiographic evaluation confirmed the diagnosis of scurvy. The patient showed dramatic improvement after only 3 days of treatment with oral ascorbic acid and significant dietary modification. In this case report, we revisit the old diagnosis of scurvy with a modern dietary twist secondary to religious practices. This case highlights the importance of taking a detailed dietary history when evaluating diseases involving the skin.
Pediatric Dermatology, University of Miami, Miami, Florida 33125, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org
Pub Type(s)Case Reports