Patients in England were diagnosed with one of 13 Victorian diseases 421,370 times in the year to March when they were admitted to hospital
Image: Alamy Stock Photo)
Polio is the latest Victorian disease to return in Britain, with hospital admissions for such Dickens diseases at record levels.
Patients in England were diagnosed with one of 13 Victorian diseases 421,370 times in the year to March when they were admitted to hospital.
This includes all people admitted with these diseases – including gout, tuberculosis, malnutrition, whooping cough, measles, scurvy, typhoid, scarlet fever, diphtheria, mumps, rickets, cholera and vitamin D deficiency.
The number rose 25% from 338,216 hospitalizations in 2020/21 after falling during the pandemic where it had previously risen year-on-year. Not in all cases was Victorian disease the primary reason for their admission.
This puts the number of inpatients diagnosed with these diseases at the highest level since at least 2017/18, when these numbers began.
The UK Health Security Agency reported this week that signs of the first polio outbreak in the UK in four decades have been discovered at London’s sewage treatment plant.
PocDoc is a digital health platform and personal diagnostics provider currently testing for polio in Pakistan and now planning to expand its operations to the UK.
Chief Executive Steve Roest said: “One of the reasons why these Victorian diseases could resurface is the UK’s high level of health inequalities, leading to unfair disparities in healthcare between groups of people or communities.
“While this is partly being driven by the cost of living crisis, a big factor is our massively overwhelmed NHS.
“Health inequalities disproportionately affect women and ethnic minorities, so we need to tackle these inequalities across the country to stop the spread of these diseases.”
In the year to March 2022, 229,888 cases of gout were diagnosed – a 23% increase from 186,570 the year before.
Vitamin D deficiency increased by 28% to 174,933 cases from 136,314 a year earlier, and 10,282 cases of malnutrition were also diagnosed.
There were 23 cases of rickets and 188 cases of scurvy.
Recent annual data showed 4,663 cases of tuberculosis, 520 cases of scarlet fever, 162 cases of typhoid, 159 cases of mumps, 56 cases of whooping cough, 34 cases of measles, 49 cases of diphtheria and 13 cases of cholera.
Prof Neil Mabbott, Chair of Immunopathology at the University of Edinburgh, said: “Many of these diseases are preventable.
“Safe and effective vaccines are available and are offered to children as part of their routine immunization schedule.
“Unfortunately, the indirect effects of the Covid-19 pandemic or other major disruptions, including conflict, have limited the implementation of these immunization programs in some regions.
“Vaccination reluctance in some populations also had a major impact on uptake of the MMR vaccine and other vaccines.
“The UK achieved WHO measles elimination status in 2017, but since then we have seen an emergence of measles as a result of lower uptake of MMR vaccines.
“The increasing prevalence of these infections is a stark reminder why it is important for parents to ensure their children’s vaccinations are fully up to date and to contact their GP if there are any gaps.”
The British health authority has repeatedly detected the poliovirus in London’s sewage works and urged families to check that children are fully vaccinated.
The last community outbreak in Britain was in the 1970s.
Oral polio vaccines sold abroad contain a “weakened” form of the virus — weakened in a lab so it can’t cause disease.
These vaccine-derived forms of the virus persist in the stool and are occasionally detected in routine UK sewage testing conducted in London and Glasgow.
The live oral vaccines differ from the polio injections sold in the UK, which contain a completely inactivated form of the virus.
It is believed that someone from Afghanistan, Pakistan or Nigeria who recently received the oral vaccine saw this weakened form of the virus then mutate into an active virus, which was then passed on to others.
Doctors have been warned to be on the lookout for patients with symptoms of paralysis in case the virus mutates into its fully virulent wild-type form.
Official figures show that of the 693,928 children aged five in England in 2020/21, around 15% did not receive their most recent polio booster shot.
Rates of five-year-olds who had not received their booster shot ranged from 8% in north-east England to 27% in London, where the outbreak was identified.
Steve Russell, NHS England national director for immunizations, said: “Although almost 95% of children under five are vaccinated against polio and the risk is low, it can cause lifelong problems and the NHS is doing everything it can to help to ensure this every entitled person accepts his offer. From local NHS teams contacting those who are eligible for vaccination in affected areas, to vaccination clinics in schools.
“The NHS is asking families to use their Redbook to check that all their children’s vaccines are up to date and to speak to their local health teams or GPs if they have any questions about protecting their children or booking an appointment.”
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/victorian-ailments-record-high-uk-27314341 Victorian diseases are at RECORD highs in Britain, most recently with polio