JOURNAL ARTICLE

An Outbreak of Pellagra in the Kasese Catchment Area, Dowa, Malawi

George Matapandeu, Samuel H Dunn, Patti Pagels
American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 2017, 96 (5): 1244-1247
28219990
AbstractPellagra is a deficiency of niacin or its amino acid precursor, tryptophan, which presents with the classic four Ds: the characteristic dermatitis, diarrhea, dementia, and eventually death if left untreated. The incidence of pellagra is quite rare presently because of increased awareness and strategies such as vitamin fortification. However, the deficiency is still present in cultures that rely on maize as their primary source of sustenance. We report a recent outbreak in a catchment area in Kasese, Malawi, of 691 cases of pellagra which were successfully treated with niacin supplementation. We present this short report to highlight the importance of educating providers of at-risk populations about this diagnosis and to consider solutions for these populations to prevent further deficiencies.

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