Scurvy Differential Diagnoses

Updated: Oct 24, 2017
  • Author: Lynne Goebel, MD; Chief Editor: George T Griffing, MD  more...
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Diagnostic Considerations

The differential diagnosis of scurvy includes vasculitis, thrombocytopenia, multiple myeloma, and folliculitis. [29]  Suspect vitamin C deficiency when perifollicular hemorrhages with corkscrew hairs are present. [37]

When evaluating a patient with suspected scurvy, other conditions such as the following should also be considered: 

  • Acrodynia

  • Autoimmune diseases (eg, Henoch-Schönlein purpura, systemic lupus erythematosus, Sjogren syndrome)

  • Child abuse and neglect

  • Clotting factor deficiencies

  • Disseminated intravascular coagulation

  • Hematologic malignancies (eg, acute lymphoblastic leukemia)

  • Hypersensitivity vasculitis (leukocytoclastic vasculitis)

  • Medication side effects

  • Necrotizing gingivitis

  • Platelet dysfunction (eg, immune thrombocytopenic purpura)

  • Senile purpura

  • Thrombophlebitis

  • Vitamin D deficiency and related disorders

The bony pathology associated with scurvy could potentially be confused with physical abuse of a child. A good dietary history and the response to treatment with vitamin C establish the diagnosis and clear confusion. Nevertheless, in the developed world, vitamin C deficiency in children may be associated with neglect (ie, nutritionally inadequate diet) as a form of child abuse, even in the absence of overt signs of physical trauma.

Differential Diagnoses