Science & Tech

An ancient disease is making a frightening comeback

An ancient disease is making a frightening comeback
Deadly Meningococcal disease outbreak in Virginia
Fox - 5 DC / VideoElephant

It feels like every day there’s a worrying new science story coming our way, and it’s been revealed that an ancient disease is making a worrying comeback in parts of the US.

The condition is scurvy, which historically has affected thousands of sailors and pirates alike as they tackled malnutrition at sea.

The disease is, essentially, down to a lack of vitamin C in the diet.

While it’s relatively simple to treat and can be tackled by changes in diet to include more fruit and vegetables, the numbers are on the rise in the US.

Speaking in the documentary Vitamania, doctor Eric Churchill from Massachusetts, spoke about encountering up to 30 cases of scurvy across the previous six years.

Taking about the implications of the numbers and the roots of the disease, Churchill said: "Many people who have difficulty affording food tend to go for food that is high fat, high calorie, and very filling.”

Scurvy can be treated with vitamin CiStock

"If you have a limited food budget, those are the meals that will fill you up and will satisfy you more than eating fruits and vegetables."

The rise in scurvy cases is worrying, with the symptoms of the disease including nausea and joint pain, as well as bleeding into the joints, swollen gums and bruising in severe cases.

"Scurvy stands out in our minds as something that is so basic and easy to avoid, and yet these people have ended up falling victim to an illness that simply should not exist in a developed country,” Churchill added.


It’s not the only ancient ailment worrying experts at the minute, either.

In fact, scientists have warned how climate change could result in ancient "zombie viruses" melting in the Arctic permafrost and potentially trigger a new pandemic.

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