Objective: To identify infants treated for vitamin D deficiency rickets, and to determine the incidence of vitamin D deficiency in their mothers and their mothers' country of origin.
Design: A retrospective audit of the medical records of children diagnosed with vitamin D deficiency rickets. Inpatients were identified by discharge diagnoses of vitamin D deficiency or hypocalcaemia and outpatients by pharmacy dispensing of cholecalciferol.
Setting: The Women's and Children's Health Care Network and the Southern Health Care Network (Melbourne, VIC) from June 1994 to February 1999.
Patients: 55 children with vitamin D deficiency rickets.
Results: Fifty-four of the 55 children were born to mothers with ethnocultural risk factors for vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D status had been assessed in 31 of the 55 mothers (56%): 25 (81%) had 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 concentrations < or = 25 nmol/L, consistent with osteomalacia.
Conclusion: Vitamin D deficiency continues to occur in children of migrant families. When infants are diagnosed with vitamin D deficiency, vitamin D levels in their mothers and siblings should also be assessed.