Scurvy in pediatric patients: a review of 28 cases

J Med Assoc Thai. 2003 Aug;86 Suppl 3:S734-40.


Objective: To study the dietary factors, clinical findings, plasma vitamin C level and post-treatment outcome of scurvy in pediatric patients at Queen Sirikit National Institute of Child Health.

Study design: A retrospective study.

Method: The medical and radiographic records of pediatric patients, diagnosed with scurvy at Queen Sirikit National Institute of Child Health from 1995 to 2002 were reviewed.

Results: Twenty-eight pediatric patients were diagnosed with scurvy. Their ages ranged between 10 months-9 years 7 months (median age of 29 months). 93 per cent of the cases were between 1-4 years of age. All were fed with well-cooked foods and small amounts or no vegetables and fruits. Supplementation with ultra heat temperature (UHT) milk was found in 89 per cent, average 5.8 boxes/day and 14.3 months in duration. Eighty-six per cent of cases were misdiagnosed previously. Clinical manifestations involved limp or inability to walk (96%), tenderness of lower limbs (86%), bleeding per gum (36%), fever (18%), and petechial hemorrhage (3.6%). All cases had abnormal radiographic findings compatible with scurvy and 2 cases had epiphyseal separation. All had clinical improvement within the first week after vitamin C supplementation.

Conclusion: Vitamin C deficiency was found in the children's intake of small amounts or no vegetables and fruits together with UHT-milk. Frequent manifestations were limping and inability to walk and pain in the lower limbs. Response to vitamin C treatment was dramatic.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Ascorbic Acid / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Scurvy / diagnosis*
  • Scurvy / drug therapy
  • Scurvy / epidemiology
  • Thailand / epidemiology


  • Ascorbic Acid