What the dickens? Rebecca Waters Initial Medical

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  Posted by: Dental Design      20th December 2019

In the last century, advances in medicine have meant that some once deadly diseases, such as smallpox, have been all but eliminated.

Indeed, the very mention of something like typhoid or scarlet fever is likely to conjure images of the grim streets of Victorian London, where soot and mist hangs in the air and whooping cough echoes out of the slums. However, though these diseases seem more suitably placed within the pages of a Charles Dickens novel, they are threatening to make a return.

Which diseases are making a comeback?

According to statistics gathered by the NHS, old fashioned diseases making a comeback include whooping cough, scarlet fever, gout, rickets, scurvy and many more. Cases of these diseases have increased a considerable amount in just a short period of time. Scarlet fever, for example, had 429 reported cases in the country in 2010-2011, but this number rocketed to 1,321 in 2017-2018.[i]

Although many of these diseases can be treated with antibiotics and other defences that were unavailable to people in Victorian times, this doesn’t mean that the conditions can’t have life-threatening implications.

Lifestyle and disease

We now live in a much cleaner, clinical world. Despite this, certain lifestyle factors still mean that old fashioned diseases have the opportunity to thrive once more.

The growing number of people living in poverty within the UK is restricting access to nutritional foods.[ii] Our immune systems cannot fight off viruses and bacteria if they are not supported by essential minerals, vitamins and amino acids and this means that some people are becoming more susceptible to pathogens in their environment.[iii]

Another very worrying factor that could be influencing this resurgence is the growth of the anti-vaxxer movement. Anti-vaxxers are those who believe that vaccinations can cause autism, and therefore refuse to have their children vaccinated. There is no substantial proof supporting this claim, and this is proving to be a dangerous decision as it is leaving young children susceptible to diseases such as measles, mumps and rubella, that vaccinations effectively defend against.

What can dentists do?

In light of this, it’s more important than ever to concentrate on decontamination and disease prevention.

The use of highly effective cleaning products throughout the practice is essential. The Steri-7 Xtra range of disinfectants from Initial Medical is particularly recommended, especially as these can be used in all areas of the practice. These products kill 99.9999% of pathogens and also have Reactive Barrier Technology – a special feature that means that once dried on a surface, any viruses and bacteria cannot recolonise these areas for up to 72 hours.

 Let’s head back to the future

Resurging diseases can be stopped in their tracks through the use of effective modern cleaning products. By treating every area of your practice, you can ensure that you do your bit to prevent these diseases from making a comeback.


For further information please visit www.initial.co.uk/medical or Tel: 0870 850 4045




[i] CNN. ‘Dickensian Diseases’ Are Making A Comeback in the UK. Link: https://edition.cnn.com/2019/02/02/health/dickensian-diseases-britain-scli-gbr-intl/index.html [Last accessed July 19].

[ii] The Guardian. New Study Finds 4.5 Million Children Living in Poverty. Link: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/sep/16/new-study-finds-45-million-uk-children-living-in-poverty [Last accessed July 19].

[iii] Bourke, C., Berkley, J., Prendergast, A. Immune Dysfunction as a Cause and Consequence of Malnutrition. Trends Immunol. 2016 Jun; 37(6): 386–398.

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