A NUMBER of diseases and health conditions that were common during the Victorian era appear to have reemerged in the UK.
Experts are warning that a post-Covid immunisation drop-off could be behind the surge in some of these Dickensian illnesses – while parents have been urged to be on the lookout for signs in children as cases continue to rise.
Experts are warning that a post-Covid vaccine drop-off could be behind the surge in some of these Dickensian illnesses[/caption]
And this year, some of these illnesses – that many believed were consigned to history – are still surging.
It’s not a particularly serious condition – but it does need immediate treatment.
This week, public health chiefs urged people to be vigilant in looking out for symptoms of the infection as cases of the bug rise in Britain.
Norfolk’s Director for Public Health, Stuart Lines, said that by taking action early, it can prevent it becoming a more widespread issue.
He said: “We have seen cases of scabies reported elsewhere in the country and because we know that the sooner a case is treated, the sooner it clears up, we advise everyone to be vigilant, particularly children and young people in educational settings.”
The most recent data on the infection rate of scabies in the UK suggests incidences of the bug has fallen.
UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) figures on the parasite, which are combined with public lice, suggest that cases have dropped by 61 per cent been 2017 and 2021 – from 2249 cases to 874.
But data for 2022 has not yet been made public.
Scabies is common and anyone can get it. It should be treated quickly to stop it spreading.
According to the NHS, the symptoms of scabies are:
- intense itching, especially at night
- a raised rash or spots
The spots may look red. They are more difficult to see on dark skin, but you should be able to feel them.
The scabies rash usually spreads across the whole body, apart from the head.
However, older people, young children and those with a weakened immune system may develop a rash on their head and neck.
The highly contagious bacterial infection, prominent in Victorian times, can cause difficulty breathing, heart problems and even death.
While serious, it is relatively rare in the UK because babies and children have been routinely vaccinated against the bug since the 1940s.
However, those who are unvaccinated are highly susceptible to the bug, which can also cause nasty ulcers on the skin, if it’s not treated with antibiotics.
A new report from the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases report for England uses figures from the UKHSA, and is based on genomic testing of hundreds of cases across 10 countries in Europe, including 59 in England.
It highlights how 73 cases of the disease were recorded in England in 2022 overall – up from 12 cases the previous year – and one further case was recorded in 2023.
Symptoms of the illness usually start two to five days after you become infected.
The NHS says the key signs include:
- a thick grey-white coating that may cover the back of your throat, nose and tongue
- a high temperature (fever)
- sore throat
- swollen glands in your neck
- difficulty breathing and swallowing
- pus-filled blisters on your legs, feet and hands
- large ulcers surrounded by red, sore looking skin
The number of tuberculosis deaths in Europe is on the rise after declining for almost two decades, the health officials warned.
The Covid pandemic’s disruption on treatment and diagnostic services has been cited as a reason for this surge.
In the World Health Organization’s (WHO) European Region – which comprises of 53 countries – 27,300 people died from tuberculosis (TB) in 2021, compared with 27,000 deaths in 2020.
TB is a potentially serious condition, but it can be cured if it’s treated with the right antibiotics.
- a persistent cough that lasts more than three weeks and usually brings up phlegm, which may be bloody
- breathlessness that gradually gets worse
- lack of appetite and weight loss
- a high temperature
- night sweats
- extreme tiredness or fatigue
Some 250 years ago, a fifth of Londoners were estimated to have contracted syphilis before their 35th birthday.
The horrible sexually transmitted infection (STI) can cause brain damage and blindness if left untreated.
We’ve come a long way since those grisly moments in history.
But experts have sounded the alarm over a concerning rise in cases of the serious and life-threatening disease.
Data on STIs, published by the UKHSA, show that there were 7,506 diagnoses of infectious syphilis reported in 2021, an 8.4 per cent increase compared to 2020 when there were 6,923 new cases.
The same surge in cases is being reported in the US.
The CDC first raised the alarm about rocketing US syphilis rates in September last year, after they rose sharply by 26 per cent post-pandemic.
“It’s pretty simple – more sexually transmitted infections occur when people are having more unprotected sex,” said Dr Mike Saag, an infectious disease expert at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
A small, painless sore or ulcer called a chancre will first be spotted, for sufferers of primary syphilis.
Most people only have one sore, but some people have several, and you may also have swollen glands in your neck, groin or armpits.
A few weeks after these initial symptoms, those with syphilis may experience…
- A blotchy red rash that can appear anywhere on the body, but often develops on the palms of the hands or soles of the feet
- Small skin growths (similar to genital warts) – on women these often appear on the vulva and for both men and women they may appear around the anus
- White patches in the mouth
- Flu-like symptoms, such as tiredness, headaches, joint pains and a high temperature (fever)
- Swollen glands
- Occasionally, patchy hair loss