Aphthous Stomatitis as a First Manifestation of Crohn's Disease in a Child
Y. Gold, S. Reif
Dana Children's Hospital, Tel Aviv Medical Center
The incidence of Crohn's disease has risen dramatically over the past few years. The peak age of onset is in late adolescence, but it rarely occurs in the first few years of life. We describe a 5-year-old boy with recurrent bouts of fever, aphthous stomatitis, and anemia which did not respond to routine antibiotic therapy. It was only after a few months, when the characteristic symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD): abdominal pain and diarrhea appeared, that the diagnosis of Crohn's disease was made.
This case illustrates the difficulty in diagnosing IBD in young children. The presenting symptoms of IBD in children are often nonspecific and extra-intestinal. There is usually a low index of suspicion by the physician as to the possibility of IBD in a young child.