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Pediatrics. 1993 Jun;91(6):1176-81.

Measles severity and serum retinol (vitamin A) concentration among children in the United States.

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  • 1Section of Acute and Communicable Disease Epidemiology, Wisconsin Division of Health, Madison.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Studies in developing countries have shown that children with measles have low serum retinol concentrations and that lower retinol levels are associated with measles-related mortality. Vitamin A therapy has been shown to reduce mortality among African children with acute measles.

OBJECTIVES:

To determine whether serum retinol concentration is low among children with measles in the United States and to determine whether retinol concentration is associated with illness severity.

SETTING:

Pediatric referral hospital and clinic in Milwaukee, WI, during the measles outbreak of 1989-1990.

PATIENTS:

One hundred fourteen patients < or = 5 years of age evaluated for serologically confirmed measles with serum obtained within 5 days following rash onset.

METHODS:

Serum retinol concentration was determined by high-performance liquid chromatography. Clinical data were collected by hospital record review. A modified Pediatric Risk of Mortality (PRISM) score was used to assess physiologic instability as a measure of illness severity.

RESULTS:

Retinol concentrations ranged from 0.25 to 1.18 mumol/L (median 0.58 mumol/L); 82 (72%) patients had low retinol concentration (< or = 0.70 mumol/L). Median retinol concentrations were lower among hospitalized patients (0.56 vs 0.70, P = .006) and patients with pneumonia (0.52 vs 0.64, P = .02) but higher among children with otitis media (0.63 vs 0.54, P = .01). Higher modified PRISM scores, reflecting greater physiologic instability, were associated with lower retinol concentration (beta coefficient -.0147, P = .025). In multivariate analysis, higher modified PRISM scores were associated with lower retinol concentration (beta coefficient -.0144, P = .025) even after controlling for hospitalization, presence of complications, race, age, receipt of Aid to Families With Dependent Children, gender, and interval from rash onset until serum was collected.

CONCLUSIONS:

Among these children with measles in an urban United States community, retinol concentrations were depressed, and the degree of depression was associated with illness severity. Vitamin A therapy should be considered for children with measles in the United States who require hospitalization.

PMID:
8502524
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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