Tuberculosis, cholera, measles — why are Victorian-era diseases back?

Tuberculosis, cholera, measles — why are Victorian-era diseases back?

There's been a mysterious resurgence of old diseases in England.

They’re diseases that call to mind older times, but they’ve returned in a big way in recent years.

Diseases like tuberculosis, cholera, measles, scurvy, and whopping cough are rising at alarming rates, according to a UPI report.

Scurvy has jumped 38 percent in England, cholera 300 percent, and scarlet fever 136 percent based on data from the National Health Service — but why?

It could be due to greater poverty and malnutrition, as well as cuts to social services, but it’s still a surprising occurence. Some neighborhoods in England have higher rates of such diseases than places like Rwanda, Iraq, and Guatemala.

These diseases can certainly be controlled — the problem is a lack of access to care, which is a particularly big problem with tuberculosis which killed 1.5 million people in 2013 out of 9 million infected.

Another reason may be a reduction in vaccination use. The recent measles outbreaks have been tied to lower vaccination levels due to an anti-vaccination movement over concerns that they carry a risk of causing autism in children.

But a lot of it may come down to malnutrition, as the hospitalization due to malnutrition has doubled in recent years. This can help the spread of disease. It’s a particularly big problem for older people.

In a statement last year, Katherine Smith, who is a Brown University assistant professor of biology, said that the fact that the world is more connected than ever could have an impact as well.

“We live in a world where human populations are increasingly interconnected with one another and with animals — both wildlife and livestock — that host novel pathogens,” she said. “These connections create opportunities for pathogens to switch hosts, cross borders, and evolve new strains that are stronger than what we have seen in the past.”



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