Sunday, May 2, 2021


Pellagra results from a niacin and/or tryptophan deficient diet. It is still endemic in areas of Africa and Asia because of poor nutrition and intake of certain cereals such as maize and jowar (Indian millet): the staple diet.

It is rare complication that typically manifests late in the course of the disease and should be treated with low doses of niacin supplements. Pellagra was first described in 1735 by Don Gaspar Casal by the name ‘mal de la rosa’ due to the reddish and glossy rash that he noted amongst the poor of Spain.

Casal recorded all the clinical characteristics and ascribed the disease to the unbalanced diets, based on maize, of poor peasants in the Asturia region of Spain. The next description of the disease came from Italy in 1771 when pellagra was given its name, meaning "rough skin".

Pellagra is a nutritional disorder that is characterized classically with three Ds, namely dermatitis, diarrhea and dementia. Pellagra is a clinical syndrome characterized by:
(1) symmetric photosensitive skin eruptions;
(2) gastrointestinal manifestations; and
(3) neurologic and psychiatric disturbances.

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