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 ‘Victorian’ Disease Epidemic in UK Blamed on Rising Poverty
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‘Victorian’ Disease Epidemic in UK Blamed on Rising Poverty

A worrying rise in the number of people living in poverty in the United Kingdom has been blamed for the resurgence of diseases most would have thought long-since eradicated. Cholera and scarlet fever in particular have exploded in prevalence over recent years, alongside a sharp increase in confirmed cases of whooping cough.
Tuberculosis rates are also disproportionately high, though are noted to have declined considerably over the same period.
According to the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), cases of cholera have increased 300% over the last five years, scurvy diagnoses are up 38% and scarlet fever cases have spiked 136%. By contrast, overall TB rates have declined over the same period, though are said to remain disproportionately high. Though down, TB rates across England are said to be higher than would be expected in Guatemala, Iraq, Rwanda and other developing nations.
Incredibly, TB was responsible for more global deaths in 2015 than HIV and AIDS, highlighting the severity and importance of a routinely-overlooked health crisis.
Experts have suggested that the root cause of the resurgence could be a combination of immigration, malnutrition, poverty and inadequate access to health/social care.
“There has been a huge rise in scarlet fever — 14,000 [suspected] cases in the last year, the highest since the 1960s,” said London-based immunologist, Dr. Nuria Martinez-Alier, in an interview with CNN.
“We have seen a rise in the cases of tuberculosis, we’ve seen a rise in cases of whooping cough and we have seen more measles in the last 10 years than in the last 10 years before that.”
Whole most of the diseases experiencing a resurgence are can be cured with medication, TB has the potential to both spread incredibly rampantly and be fatal if left untreated. Of the approximate 9 million global cases of TB recorded in 2013, around 1.5 million were killed by the disease.
“I think there is a general sense in this country, at least for me — which is incorrect — that infectious diseases are completely eradicated, or that we found some way to get rid of them and that they are ‘Victorian’ illnesses,” said Josie Garrett, a resident of London currently being treated for TB.
 “The reality is that’s just not the case. It’s definitely something people need to be aware of.”
Dr. Martinez-Alier warned that poor vaccination rates are also intensifying the problem, though highlighted the fact that malnutrition cases in the United Kingdom have also doubled over recent years.

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