pink disease

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Syn: acrodynia. A condition of weanling children characterized by limb pain, red scaly skin, irritability, etc. It was so common in the first half of the 20th century that children's hospitals sometimes had whole wards devoted to the care of affected infants. The cause was eventually discovered to be mercury poisoning caused by the use of mercury compounds in teething powders used to soothe children with the symptoms of irritable gums and erupting primary teeth.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology.

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