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Rickets Reappears in United Kingdom

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Rickets Reappears in United Kingdom

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Rickets, the childhood disease long-thought eradicated in the United Kingdom, is making a comeback.

Southampton, a middle-class city in southern England, is experiencing a high number of cases. According to research done over the past year by Southampton General Hospital, 20 percent of children suffering from bone problems were diagnosed with the disease.

These findings shocked the region’s leading doctors as the reappearance is taking place in an area markedly different from the impoverished neighborhoods of 17th-century Victorian England, where rickets often occurred.

The disease, caused by a vitamin D deficiency, weakens children’s bones and is attributed to a lack of exposure to sunlight and poor diet.

According to Professor Nicholas Clarke, a leading author of the study, “The return of rickets in northern parts of the UK came as a surprise despite the colder climate and lower levels of sunshine in the north, but what has developed in Southampton is quite astonishing” (Southern Daily Echo).

“We are seeing cases across the board, from areas of deprivation up to the middle classes, so there is a real need to get national attention focused on the dangers this presents,” he said (ibid.).

Rickets can cause spinal problems, bowed legs, stunted growth, sore joints and dental problems. Prevention techniques include eating foods rich in vitamin D, such as fish, eggs and cheese, as well as getting at least 15 to 20 minutes of sunlight three times a week.

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