oa South African Medical Journal - The ultra-violet fluorescence of the tongue in African children

Volume 27, Issue 36
  • ISSN : 0256-9574
  • E-ISSN: 2078-5135



1. The phenomenon of ultra-violet fluorescence of the tongue in 873 African and 44 European children of school age is descriptionbed. 2. For classification, the subjects were divided into 3 classes, (i) those who exhibited fluorescence extending over more than half the surface of the dorsum, (ii) those showing fluorescence over less than half this area, (iii) those who showed no fluorescence. 3. Nine per cent of the Africans fell into class 1, 40% into class 2, and 51% into class 3 as compared with 16 %, 44% and 40% respectively of the Europeans. 4. A series of 38 African children who exhibited well marked clinical signs of general malnutrition were investigated. Five (13%) showed a very faint fluorescence, the rest being negative. 5. The macroscopic appearance of the tongue bears no relation to the incidence of fluorescence, but such incidence corresponds broadly with the papillary ratio of the tongue.

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