Not the first time a vitamin deficiency has been confused with a virusThis isn’t the first-time beriberi (vitamin B1 deficiency) has been confused for an infectious disease outbreak. A disease outbreak in 1897 was thought to be caused by an infectious agent (bacteria, virus, fungus) until it vanished when unpolished rice was substituted for vitamin B1-deficient polished rice. [Dept. of Clinical Epidemiology, Leiden University Hospital, The Netherlands, 2012].Beriberi produces symptoms of fever and infection that is confused with real microbe-induced infectious disease. Beriberi may be misdiagnosed as a viral infection and accompanying pneumonia.The account of Nobel-Prize winner (1928) Christiaan Eijkman is instructive.In 1886, with the germ theory of disease being prominent among physicians, the Dutch assembled a commission to determine which bacterium causes the symptoms of beri beri in preparation for creating a vaccine. However, the germ could not be isolated.Eijkman noticed chickens had trouble breathing and showed other signs of beriberi.Initially Eijkkman thought this disease was transferred from sick chicken to healthy chicken. He isolated the animals in separate cages, similar to present-day lockdowns of human populations. However, the chickens still got sick. Eijkman was bewildered.Eijkman eventually found chickens that were “immune” from the disease were fed unpolished rice, the rice that had the B1-thiamine (B1 being in the rice hull).