Acute ophthalmoplegia and nystagmus in infants fed a thiamine-deficient formula: An epidemic of Wernicke encephalopathy

Anat Kesler, Chaim Stolovitch, Chen Hoffmann, Isaac Avni, Yair Morad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In 2003, an epidemic of Wernicke encephalopathy (WE) developed in Israeli infants fed a thiamine-deficient soy-based formula. Approximately 20 infants were affected out of an estimated 3500 fed the vitamin-deficient formula. The finding of gaze abnormalities in a single infant by neuro-ophthalmologists led to the unraveling of the epidemic. In this report, the findings in three infants are described. Early diagnosis and treatment with parenteral thiamine led to complete neurologic recovery in two infants; in the third infant, delayed diagnosis may have been responsible for severe lingering deficits. This is the first reported epidemic of WE secondary to thiamine-deficient infant formula. Early diagnosis and treatment are critical to avoid persistent neurologic impairment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-172
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Neuro-Ophthalmology
Volume25
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2005
Externally publishedYes

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