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Disease of the past re-emerging in modern Australian society


A 28-year-old man with fever, atraumatic lower limb pain and rash was noted to have multiple areas of ecchymosis involving both lower limbs. He was anaemic and also had a grossly swollen left leg. Differential diagnoses of compartment syndrome, vascular tear, platelet and clotting factor disorders, vasculitis and myositis were ruled out. Scurvy was only considered after failing to reach a diagnosis. A dietary history revealed consumption of a restricted diet with no fresh fruits or vegetables. Diagnosis was supported by an undetectable vitamin C level in blood and a rapid improvement of symptoms on oral vitamin C replacement. Prevalence of vitamin C deficiency in developed countries is also discussed.

  • nutrition and metabolism
  • diet
  • public health

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