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Canadian boy with yellow tongue recovers from rare disease

The boy's yellow tongue was a sign of a rare autoimmune disorder (Pic Courtesy: The New England Journal of Medicine/www.nejm.org)

A 12-year-old boy gave a fright to his family as he was found to have bright yellow tongue in Canada.

According to an article published in the New England Journal of Medicine on July 24, he was brought to the hospital with a four-day history of sore throat and a three-day history of dark urine, abdominal pain, and pallor. Following the tests and examination yielded that the boy had jaundice, with scleral and tongue icterus.

The doctors and the healthcare experts at the Toronto-based Hospital for Sick Children determined the boy had jaundice which generally tends to result in yellowing of the skin and the eyes becoming white.

It was the bright yellow hue of the tongue that confounded and puzzled the doctors.

Running some important tests helped the doctors to decide that the child was suffering from anaemia and the EpsteinBarr virus had infected him.

A common virus, EpsteinBarr virus, affects people during their childhood and usually leads to autoimmune conditions.

He was diagnosed with cold agglutinin disease, a rare autoimmune disorder. This affliction is a rare autoimmune disorder. The condition induces the immune system to attack and destroy its own red blood cells. Though this condition comes about due to cold temperature, the doctors feel the boy contracted the disease due to an infection from EpsteinBarr virus.

A report in India Today stated that according to the US's National Institute of Health, cold agglutinin disease results in anaemia and may also result in fast breakdown of red blood cells leading to a build-up of bilirubin, which causes jaundice.

The line of treatment adopted by the hospital was blood transfusion and use of oral steroids.

According to NEJM, the boy was given a total of five units of packed red cells, as well as treatment with high-dose intravenous methylprednisolone for two days. This was followed with oral prednisone with a tapering dose over the next seven weeks.

It was stated the boy, after being discharged, recovered well with the tongue colour back to normal leading to a sigh of relief for the family!