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Case report
Now you C me: a case of scurvy presenting as depression and anaemia
  1. In Sun Na1,2,
  2. Kevin Nguyen2,
  3. Bradley Potenzi2 and
  4. Minz Cheah2
  1. 1Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Alfred Health, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  2. 2Department of General Medicine, Monash Health, Clayton, Victoria, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr In Sun Na; insun.na118{at}gmail.com

Abstract

A 66-year-old Caucasian woman was admitted with deteriorating mental health in the setting of background history of schizophrenia and depression. Her husband reported that she had increasing negative thoughts and decreased motivation regarding her self-care over a few weeks with no obvious stressors. Initial laboratory tests were unremarkable except for isolated normocytic anaemia. Physical examination revealed widespread bilateral upper limb ecchymoses and lower limb petechial rash. After an extensive investigation with no definitive results to explain her clinical presentations, diagnosis of scurvy was suspected and confirmed with severely low serum vitamin C level. Her clinical symptoms improved markedly with oral supplementation, which further supported the diagnosis of scurvy. Although it is now a rare condition in developed countries, this case will remind modern medical practitioners that patients with scurvy may present with non-specific symptoms and clinical findings such as depression and anaemia.

  • nutrition and metabolism
  • vitamins and supplements
  • haematology (incl blood transfusion)
  • depressive disorder
  • psychiatry
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Footnotes

  • Contributors ISN is the main author of this case report and contributed to conception, planning, composition of the case report and also involved in reviewing the literature and finalising the manuscript. KN contributed to planning and composition of the case report and also involved in reviewing the literature. BP contributed to conception and planning of the case report and also involved in finalising the manuscript. MC was involved in supervising and finalising the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Next of kin consent obtained.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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