Scurvy in a 10-month-old boy

Authors


Margarita Larralde, PhD, MD Acevedo 1070CP: 1828 BanfieldBuenos AiresArgentinaE-mail: maggie@advancedsl.com.ar/margaritalarralde@fibertel.com.ar

Abstract

We report a 10-month-old boy with inflammatory and necrotic gingival lesions, fever, irritability, and pseudoparalysis of the legs. Laboratory examinations revealed moderate anemia and skeletal X-rays showed osteopenia, scorbutic rosary at the costochondral junctions, and “corner sign” on the proximal metaphyses of the femora. The boy had been fed only with diluted cow's milk. He had never taken solid food, vitamin C, or iron complement. Seventy-two hours after starting oral vitamin C supplementation, there was significant improvement in the patient's gingival lesions and general health. The clinical presentation and laboratory and imaging findings, together with the dramatic response to ascorbic acid intake, allowed us to confirm the diagnosis of infantile scurvy.

Scurvy, a dietary disease due to the deficient intake of vitamin C, is uncommon in the pediatric population. In an infant who has never received vitamin C, the combination of gingival lesions, pseudoparalysis, and irritability strongly suggests a diagnosis of scurvy. The clinical picture, together with the laboratory data, radiological studies, and therapeutic response to vitamin C administration, confirmed the diagnosis.

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