Preschooler with Autism Develops Scurvy

August 09, 2021

Disease Once Thought in Rearview Mirror Could be a New Concern

An Italian case report recently detailed the account of a 3-year-old girl who refused to walk or stand, displayed an odd red rash, follicular hyperkeratosis, and bleeding gums. She was diagnosed with scurvy, a disease that has been greatly reduced throughout the western world. While hospitalized and receiving vitamin C treatments, the treating clinicians noticed the girl lacked eye contact, showed a flat affect, engaged in solitary play, displayed non-communicative language, and had poor interaction with strangers. The team suspected autism which is often linked to vitamin deficiencies, sometimes due to picky eating habits. After the vitamin C treatment, the 3-year-old showed clinical improvement. The research team concluded that while scurvy is rare, it can still occur, especially in vulnerable children such as those with ASD. They urge doctors to be aware of the threat of scurvy for their patients with autism and to treat it promptly.

Original Case Report

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