Medical Definition of Infantile beriberi

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Reviewed on 12/21/2018

Infantile beriberi: Disease in infants due to deficiency of thiamine. This disease is well-known in undeveloped countries among malnourished infants but it is very rare in developed countries. It can occur if a breastfeeding mother has an inadequate intake of thiamine. The disease can also occur in infants who are fed a formula containing insufficient thiamine, as happened tragically in 2003 in Israel. The culprit was Remedia Super Soya 1, a kosher, soy-based, dairy-free baby formula used mainly by ultraorthodox Jewish families. The formula by error had inadequate thiamine. Its use left at least 2 two children dead and 15 suffering from possible brain damage. Thiamine is also known as vitamin B1.

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Reviewed on 12/21/2018