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bijou
04-30-2012, 11:33 AM
Humanity spent the last hundred years virtually eradicating some of the planet’s most unpleasant diseases. But in the past decade some of them have started showing up again in increasing numbers of people. Here’s why.
1. Scarlet Fever http://www.mentalfloss.com/blogs/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/scarlet-fever.jpg
This deadly disease was first described in the 1500s. Due to its contagious nature and debilitating, if not deadly, effects, outbreaks of scarlet fever were greatly feared. Fans of the Little House on the Prairie series will remember that it was scarlet fever that resulted in Mary’s blindness.
Penicillin proved an effective treatment for the disease, until last year. A sudden spike in scarlet fever cases in China and Macao, up almost threefold and fivefold from 2010, respectively, has alerted scientists to a new, more virulent form of the disease. It was not just Asia that reported more cases, with a sharp increase in incidents in Michigan last year.
2. Rickets Rickets was most common in industrialized cities during the 1800s. Children who worked in factories had poor diets and got little sunlight, resulting in a Vitamin D deficiency. This can lead to bone problems, bowed legs, and stunted growth. Since it is such an easy disease to avoid simply by spending a few minutes in the sun each day, as child labor laws limited kids’ time trapped inside, rickets all but disappeared.
Since rickets had been perceived as a disease that was “taken care of” for almost a century, doctors in the US and Europe were astonished when it suddenly started showing up in increasing numbers of children in the last decade, with several hundred cases in England alone in 2009. Part of the problem is that many children are back to having poor diets and spending very little time outside. But the problems also present themselves in infants, ironically because new mothers are trying to do everything right. Breast milk does not contain Vitamin D and as more women breastfeed their children exclusively, and for longer time periods, as well as protecting their children’s sensitive skin from the sun when they go out, Vitamin D deficiencies are becoming more common in infants. Doctors urge women to keep breastfeeding, but to give babies vitamin supplements as well.
3. Gout The first documented case of gout was in Egypt in 2600 BC. While anyone could get it, it was known as “the king’s disease” because symptoms most often presented themselves in royalty and the wealthy; Henry VIII and George IV were both sufferers. There was no cure, and once someone had one attack of gout they were likely to get it again. The main symptom was unbelievably excruciating pain in a joint, usually a toe. Attacks could last up to a week, made walking almost impossible, and even covering one’s self with a light blanket was usually too much pressure on the joint.
The number of people suffering from gout in the US has almost doubled since the early 1990s, with 4% of adults presenting symptoms in 2010, and the numbers are expected to keep rising, for two reasons. One, our diets are atrocious. Eating rich, fatty foods, and drinking alcohol add to your risk of getting a gout attack. Two, gout is much more prevalent in the elderly. 13% of Americans over 80 suffer from gout, an increase of 7% in the last 20 years alone, and as more people live to that age the number will most likely continue to increase.
4. Syphilis

Read the full text here: http://www.mentalfloss.com/blogs/archives/122883#ixzz1tXQrEaP9
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noonwitch
05-02-2012, 01:28 PM
The Scarlet Fever outbreak in Michigan is probably due to the fact that many people from Asia have emigrated here, and continue to do so (legally, of course). Between the auto industry and the Christian Reformed Church, there have been a lot of people settled in this state, although the CRC tends to settle them in West Michigan and the asians who come here due to the auto industry tend to live in metro Detroit.