Clinical Case Report | Published:

Severe scurvy: an underestimated disease

European Journal of Clinical Nutrition volume 69, pages 10761077 (2015) | Download Citation


Scurvy is one of the oldest diseases in human history. Nowadays, although scurvy tends to become a forgotten disease in developed country, rare cases still occur, especially in people undergoing extreme diet, old people or children with poor diet and patients with malabsorption. We describe three cases of scurvy. The first case is a patient diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, the second one is in a context of anorexia nervosa and drug addiction, and the third case is in a context of social isolation. Early recognition of scurvy can be difficult because symptoms may appear nonspecific and can mimic more common conditions. In any patient with spontaneous hematoma and purpura, in the context of nutritional disorder, scurvy should be systematically considered. As this disease can lead to severe complications, such as bone pain, heart failure or gastrointestinal symptoms, nothing should delay vitamin C supplementation, which is a simple and rapidly effective treatment.

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  1. Department of Dermatology, Hospital Claude-Huriez, University Hospital of Lille, Lille, France

    • M Levavasseur
    • , C Becquart
    • , E Pape
    • , D Staumont-Sallé
    •  & E Delaporte
  2. Department of Nutrition, University Hospital of Lille, Lille, France

    • M Pigeyre
    •  & J Rousseaux
  3. Celiobe, Private Hospital La Louvière, Générale de Santé, Lille, France

    • J Rousseaux


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Competing interests

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to M Levavasseur.

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