British doctors warn return of 19th century Disease
Medical experts have announced that the childhood disease is making a comeback in the UK.
Rickets is the softening of the bones caused by vitamin D deficiency. It made a sweep among poverty-stricken children during the Victorian Industrial Revolution, but was crushed in the 1950s when mass programmes to give children cod liver oil were successful.
Data from the last 15 years, however, reveal that rickets cases have increased fourfold: from 183 cases in 1995 to 762 in 2011. Medical officers suggested that the actual numbers may even be bigger since there is no official surveillance.
UK chief medical officer Dr Sally Davies said that the return of rickets is ‘appalling.’ So far she has asked independent health watchdogs to study proposals to place the situation under control.
Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health officer Dr Mitch Blair said ‘It’s very surprising to see this.
‘Children come in with bendy legs, swollen wrists and sometimes swollen ribs. This is not something we should be seeing because it’s completely preventable.’
He cited a number of reasons for the trend, including changing habits: children spending more time indoors, overuse of sunscreen and others. He said that children with dark skin need more sunshine.
Orthopedic surgeon Dr Laura Tosi of the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. said the suggestion to provide free vitamins for children under five years of age may help combat the disease.
She said ‘There’s only a limited amount of time to build up children’s bones.
‘Given how cloudy it is (in the UK), I hope they’re supplementing their kids with vitamins.’