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Transient Symptomatic Zinc Deficiency in a Breast-fed Preterm Infant

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Transient, symptomatic zinc deficiency in breast-fed, low-birthweight infants is a rare, but probably underrecognized disorder hallmarked by periorificial and acral dermatitis. Unlike in acrodermatitis enteropathica, symptoms disappear when nursing ends. We report a breast-fed, preterm infant with demarcated, erythematous, and exudative patches with overlying crusts on the perioral, perianal, and acral areas. Laboratory investigations revealed lowered zinc levels in the infant’s serum, but normal levels in his mother’s milk. Oral zinc supplementation resulted in total clearing of skin lesions within 4 weeks. Our patient’s presentation illustrates the importance of zinc in rapidly growing preterm infants and aims to stimulate awareness for this disorder. Symptomatic zinc deficiency can be easily diagnosed by careful examination and effectively treated with oral zinc substitution.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Pediatrics, Division of Neonatology, Neuropediatrics and Metabolic Diseases, Innsbruck Medical University, Innsbruck, Austria 2: Department of Pediatrics, St. Johann County Hospital, St. Johann, Austria

Publication date: September 1, 2007

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