SPANISH doctors have treated an 11-month-old boy for scurvy – a disease which is commonly associated with 18th century pirates and malnourished explorers but is still occasionally diagnosed in the 21st Century.
The afflicted child was brought to doctors at the Hospital Universitari i Politecnic La Fe de Valencia after his parents noticed his tiredness and irritability and found that he cried out when his legs were moved.
The resulting diagnosis, which was published in the journal Pediatrics, in January 2016, was achieved when medical staff found the boy was suffering from femur fractures and significantly low levels of vitamin C.
The baby had been fed on a cow milk-based formula until two and a half months, at which point, after developing skin rashes, the formula was replaced by an almond milk-based mixture. Although reports suggest that the child’s mother tried to supplement his milk-only with pureed fruit and vegetables, her son rejected them.
Scurvy is thought to be caused by the major depletion of vitamin C levels, with those on restrictive diets most at risk. The vitamin is required for the normal growth and development of infants but nutritionists claim that almond milk is a plant-based beverage, which, when industrially prepared, contains vitamin C with less ‘biological activity’ than found in more nutritious foods.