Scurvy Comeback: A Long-Forgotten Disease Has Resurfaced

First Posted: Nov 29, 2016 04:00 AM EST

A long-forgotten disease is making a comeback in Australia due to low Vitamin C intake.

Mail Online reported that there is a recent outbreak of a disease called scurvy in Sydney due to diets low in fruits and vegetables containing Vitamin C.

Professor Jenny Gunton, a GP at Westmead Hospital, discovered that the disease popular among sailors centuries ago has resurfaced in her diabetic patient whose wounds were not healed even after seven months.

Gunton found out that her patient is diagnosed with scurvy -- upon seeing the patient's improvement after prescribing her with a Vitamin C supplement. This brought her to a realization that many of her other patients suffering long unhealed wounds were also affected by the disease.

"Most of these people are overweight so it just comes down to the quality of the diet," Guntold told Daily Telegraph.

Scurvy was a common disease among sailors in the 18th and 19th century because sailors have spent long months traveling the sea without fresh fruit and vegetable intake. This comeback is surprising for doctors since scurvy has been already long forgotten.

According to Medical News Today, early symptoms for scurvy include loss of appetite, irritability, fever, slow weight gain, rapid breathing, diarrhea, tenderness, swelling over long bones, discomfort in legs, feelings of paralysis and hemorrhage. Without proper action, this disease will eventually lead to a person's death.

To prevent scurvy, people must consume a regular fruit and vegetable diet, especially those that are rich in Vitamin C. These include oranges, lemons, strawberries, broccoli, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, cabbage, bell peppers, blackcurrants, kiwifruit, guava, papaya, spinach, paprika, liver and oysters. Although taking a Vitamin C supplement is also advisable, eating food rich in Vitamin C is a better prevention.

Gunton advised that when preparing vegetables, people should make sure these are not eaten overcooked so Vitamin C would still be preserved.

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