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Scurvy Outbreak Among South Sudanese Adolescents and Young Men - Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya, 2017-2018.
MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2019; 68(3):72-75MM

Abstract

Scurvy is a relatively rare micronutrient deficiency disease that can occur among refugees dependent on food aid (1). Inadequate access to fresh fruits and vegetables in refugee camps can result in scurvy (2,3). Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya's Turkana District is home to 148,000 refugees, mostly from Somalia and South Sudan, who receive food assistance. In August 2017, a number of South Sudanese adolescent and young adult male refugees were evaluated at a health clinic in the camp for calf pain, chest pain, and gingival swelling. Because the symptoms were nonspecific, no diagnosis was made, and some patients received antibiotics and analgesics. All were managed as outpatients, but symptoms did not improve. During subsequent months, more young men with similar symptoms were reported. On January 20, 2018, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was informed and conducted clinical examinations. Signs and symptoms included lower limb pain and swelling (in some cases involving joints), lethargy, fatigue, gingival swelling and pain, hyperkeratotic skin changes, and chest pain. Based on these clinical findings, micronutrient deficiency, particularly vitamin C deficiency (scurvy), was considered a possible diagnosis, and an investigation of a possible outbreak was conducted. The suspected scurvy cases all occurred in young men from South Sudan who were living and cooking together in one geographic section of the camp. All patients who received treatment with vitamin C noted improvement of symptoms within <1 week. Patients were provided with food and cash assistance, the latter to allow dietary diversification (i.e., fresh fruits and vegetables). However, both forms of assistance were inadequate to allow access to sufficient amount of calories and the dietary diversification needed for intake of micronutrients, such as vitamin C. It is important to consider these needs when determining the amount of food or cash assistance provided to adolescents and young adult male refugees.

Authors

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Pub Type(s)

Journal Article

Language

eng

PubMed ID

30677009

Citation

Ververs, Mija, et al. "Scurvy Outbreak Among South Sudanese Adolescents and Young Men - Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya, 2017-2018." MMWR. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, vol. 68, no. 3, 2019, pp. 72-75.
Ververs M, Muriithi JW, Burton A, et al. Scurvy Outbreak Among South Sudanese Adolescents and Young Men - Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya, 2017-2018. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2019;68(3):72-75.
Ververs, M., Muriithi, J. W., Burton, A., Burton, J. W., & Lawi, A. O. (2019). Scurvy Outbreak Among South Sudanese Adolescents and Young Men - Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya, 2017-2018. MMWR. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 68(3), pp. 72-75. doi:10.15585/mmwr.mm6803a4.
Ververs M, et al. Scurvy Outbreak Among South Sudanese Adolescents and Young Men - Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya, 2017-2018. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2019 Jan 25;68(3):72-75. PubMed PMID: 30677009.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Scurvy Outbreak Among South Sudanese Adolescents and Young Men - Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya, 2017-2018. AU - Ververs,Mija, AU - Muriithi,Jesse Wambugu, AU - Burton,Ann, AU - Burton,John Wagacha, AU - Lawi,Allison Oman, Y1 - 2019/01/25/ PY - 2019/1/25/entrez PY - 2019/1/25/pubmed PY - 2019/1/27/medline SP - 72 EP - 75 JF - MMWR. Morbidity and mortality weekly report JO - MMWR Morb. Mortal. Wkly. Rep. VL - 68 IS - 3 N2 - Scurvy is a relatively rare micronutrient deficiency disease that can occur among refugees dependent on food aid (1). Inadequate access to fresh fruits and vegetables in refugee camps can result in scurvy (2,3). Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya's Turkana District is home to 148,000 refugees, mostly from Somalia and South Sudan, who receive food assistance. In August 2017, a number of South Sudanese adolescent and young adult male refugees were evaluated at a health clinic in the camp for calf pain, chest pain, and gingival swelling. Because the symptoms were nonspecific, no diagnosis was made, and some patients received antibiotics and analgesics. All were managed as outpatients, but symptoms did not improve. During subsequent months, more young men with similar symptoms were reported. On January 20, 2018, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was informed and conducted clinical examinations. Signs and symptoms included lower limb pain and swelling (in some cases involving joints), lethargy, fatigue, gingival swelling and pain, hyperkeratotic skin changes, and chest pain. Based on these clinical findings, micronutrient deficiency, particularly vitamin C deficiency (scurvy), was considered a possible diagnosis, and an investigation of a possible outbreak was conducted. The suspected scurvy cases all occurred in young men from South Sudan who were living and cooking together in one geographic section of the camp. All patients who received treatment with vitamin C noted improvement of symptoms within <1 week. Patients were provided with food and cash assistance, the latter to allow dietary diversification (i.e., fresh fruits and vegetables). However, both forms of assistance were inadequate to allow access to sufficient amount of calories and the dietary diversification needed for intake of micronutrients, such as vitamin C. It is important to consider these needs when determining the amount of food or cash assistance provided to adolescents and young adult male refugees. SN - 1545-861X UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/30677009/Scurvy_Outbreak_Among_South_Sudanese_Adolescents_and_Young_Men___Kakuma_Refugee_Camp_Kenya_2017_2018_ L2 - https://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6803a4 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -