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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 126-129

Pellagra: A forgotten entity

1 Department of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprology, Gandhi Medical College, Hyderabad, Telangana, India
2 Clinical Division, National Institute of Nutrition (ICMR), Hyderabad, Telangana, India
3 Department of Microbiology and Immunology, National Institute of Nutrition (ICMR), Hyderabad, Telangana, India
4 Division of Public Health Nutrition, National Institute of Nutrition (ICMR), Hyderabad, Telangana, India

Correspondence Address:
Amruth Rao Parveda
Clinical Division, National Institute of Nutrition, Jamai Osmania, Hyderabad - 500 007, Telangana
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/CDR.CDR_23_18

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Background: Pellagra is due to deficiency of niacin or its precursor tryptophan and is characterized by four Ds: The Dermatitis, Dementia, Diarrhea, and eventually Death if it is untreated. Not long ago, the disease was endemic in several parts of the world; including India. Over the past two decades, only a few pellagra cases have been reported. By the year 2011, Pellagra had almost disappeared due to public distribution system but, the clinical features still prevail in the Indian subcontinent to some extent. Objective: The study was carried out to report our experience with pellagra in a tertiary care hospital. Materials and Methods: We undertook a retrospective study of 335 clinically diagnosed pellagra cases attending the Nutrition Unit of tertiary care hospital from 1992 to 2012. Results: In a total of 335 patients of pellagra studied, there were 316 males and 17 females. Majority of patients were in 30–40 years with mean age 42.76 ± 11.6 years. Chronic energy deficiency was seen in 63.8% of patients. Chronic alcoholism and tuberculosis were noted in 3.88% and 1.19% of patients, respectively. Conclusion: Pellagra is a complex and multisystem disease that occurs due to varied etiological factors. Of these, inadequate diet is the best-recognized cause in the developing countries like India. This study clearly recommends that general ration should be regularly distributed, especially in areas where maize and sorghum are cultivated and consumed.

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