The Oldest Nutritional Deficiency Disease: A Case Report Of Scurvy

Yap Chiew Yee, Tam Pui Ying, Ng Su Wei


Scurvy resulting from dietary deficiency of vitamin C is characterized by anaemia, tender limbs swelling and hemorrhagic manifestations such as petechiae and bruises. We report a case of scurvy in a 13 years old boy with cerebral palsy who presented with history of limbs bruising and swelling for 2 months. On examination, he was cachexic and pale with poor dentition and swollen gum. There were extensive bruises and swollen limbs as well. His platelet count and coagulation profile were normal. Limbs X-ray revealed classical scorbutic changes in the long bones. Serum ascorbic acid level was low <5 μmol/L(normal range 28-120 μmol/L) and he was successfully treated with vitamin C for 3 months. Though scurvy is now rarely seen in modern times, it is important to keep in mind that certain vulnerable populations with compromised nutrition are at risk. A thorough dietary history is helpful in clinching the diagnosis. It is important for clinician to recognize the disease as it is potentially fatal but can be easily reversible.

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