Monday, February 14, 2011

History of Pellagra

Pellagra is a distinctive clinical entity characterized by symptoms of neurological dysfunction accompanied by lesions of the skin and alimentary.

In the late 1960s about half of the rural blacks in South Africa suffered from cutaneous pellagra often associated with riboflavin deficiency.

History of pellagra shows that tropical diseases are disease of poverty.

The association of pellagra with consumption of maize was clearly perceived from the time of its initial appearance.

Pellagra was probably first observed in 1735 in Asturias, autonomous community in Kingdom of Spain.

It was identified among the peasants by Don Gaspar Casal. A loathsome skin disease, it was called “mal de la rosa” and often mistaken for leprosy.

The first publication on the disease appeared in 1755 an 1762, which contained an exact description of the condition; at that time it was ascribed to spoiled maize.

Its appearance in Italy was probably 50-100 years later and it was not until early in the 20th century that Serbia and Southern Russia could have been described as ‘suffering a heavy visitation’.

The first report in which the term “pellagra” (meaning – rough skin) was probably used for the first time, was from Milan.

The name of pellagra attached of the disease was suggested by Frappoli in 1771. He referred to it as of ancient origin at that time and probably identical with the “pellarella” reported in Milan in 1578.

Pellagra had disappeared from Southern France by about 1880 and from Italy by 1914.

In United States, pellagra has sometimes been called the disease of the four D’s – dermatitis, diarrhea, dementia and death.
History of Pellagra

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