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Increased mortality in children with mild vitamin A deficiency. *

An average of 3481 preschool-age rural Indonesian children were re-examined every 3 months for 18 months. The mortality rate among children with mild xerophthalmia (night blindness and/or Bitot's spots) was on average 4 times the rate, and in some age groups 8 to 12 times the rate, among children without xerophthalmia. Mortality increased, almost linearly, with the severity of mild xerophthalmia (night blindness, Bitot's spots, and the two combined).

These relations persisted after stratification for respiratory disease, wasting, gastroenteritis, pedal oedema, and childhood exanthems. Mild vitamin A deficiency was directly associated with at least 16% of all deaths in children aged from 1 to 6 years. These results suggest that mild xerophthalmia justifies vigorous community-wide intervention, as much to reduce childhood mortality as to prevent blindness, and that night blindness and Bitot's spots are as important as anthropometric indices in screening children to determine which of them need medical and nutritional attention.

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As with any procedure, there could be pain or other substantial risks involved. These concerns should be discussed with your health care provider prior to any treatment so that you have proper informed consent and understand that there are no guarantees to healing.

THE INFORMATION IN THIS WEBSITE IS OFFERED FOR GENERAL EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND DOES NOT IMPLY OR GIVE MEDICAL ADVICE. No Doctor/Patient relationship shall be deemed to have arisen simply by reading the information contained on these pages, and you should consult with your personal physician/care giver regarding your medical treatment before undergoing any sort of treatment or therapy.

Published on 08-19-2006