Scurvy is a rare disorder, with epidemics typically affecting populations subject to famine or displacement during wartime.
Most key clinical manifestations are related to impaired collagen synthesis. These include bleeding complications (spontaneous petechiae and ecchymoses), friable gingiva and loose teeth, bone pain, and joint effusions.
Other complications include heart failure, encephalopathy, and entrapment neuropathies.
If not treated promptly, scurvy can be fatal.
Complete recovery is anticipated in most patients.
Scurvy is a life-threatening condition due to dietary vitamin C deficiency. Those affected are mostly refugees or victims of famine, alcoholics, older people, fad dieters, or children with autism or idiosyncratic behavioural abnormalities. Cardinal features include spontaneous bleeding from gums or poor wound healing, perifollicular ecchymoses, haemarthroses, and joint pain. Diagnosis is often delayed because of slow identification of disease or incomplete review of dietary history. Rapid resolution occurs after vitamin C treatment.
Assistant Professor of Neurology
Columbia University Medical Center
Department of Neurology
Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer’s Disease and the Aging Brain
G.H. Sergievsky Center
JMN declares that he has no competing interests.
Division of Child and Adolescent Neurology
Professor of Neurology, Pediatrics, and Medical Genetics
Child Neurology Training Program
MCP declares that he has received consultancy fees from Actelion, Alexion, Agios, Novartis, Orphazyme, Shire, and Vtesse; travel and accommodation expenses from Actelion, Alexion, Agios, and Shire; a grant from Actelion; honoraria from Journal of Child Neurology/Child Neurology Open and Journal of Inherited Metabolic Disease; and royalties from Up-to-Date.
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