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Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 1993 Jan;74(1):92-5.

Scurvy--a forgotten disease.

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Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Tirunelveli Medical College and Hospital, Tamilnadu, India.


A four-year-old male child was reported with sudden inability to stand walk of 10 days duration. Acute paralytic poliomyelitis was diagnosed in the presence of fever, respiratory infection, muscle tenderness, and weakness in lower extremity in an unimmunized child. Reevaluation after a week showed swelling, thickening, and tenderness of left femur. Plain x-ray of the left thigh was advised to exclude underlying osteomyelitis of the femur. X-ray showed features of scurvy. The child responded well to parenteral vitamin C therapy and resumed normal walking with in two weeks. Scurvy can present as pseudoparalysis of acute onset without any other signs even in older children. It emphasized the need for an index of suspicion of scurvy in a case of suspected paralysis. Dramatic response to vitamin C therapy can be used to confirm the diagnosis in the absence of laboratory support. Health education can be accelerated to prevent a disease like scurvy.

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