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'It's a national SCANDAL' 10 'PLAGUE' cases as deadly diseases from past return to UK

Lucy Johnston

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Feb. 14, 2016

SOME of the deadliest diseases in history are making a comeback in the UK, and there are fears even the Black Death could return to these shores.

There were 10 suspected cases of the plague at hospitals in the past five years, the most recent reported between 2014 and 2015.

Although none was confirmed by Public Health England, which said there had been no cases of the plague in the UK since 1918, experts warned it highlighted the need for extra vigilance to protect the public from killer conditions more commonly associated with centuries ago.

More than 100 cases of cholera have been confirmed since 2011, while scurvy and scarlet fever are on the rise.

Tuberculosis has also become more prevalent.

Last week Public Health Minister Jane Ellison told Parliament that as well as cases of cholera, typhoid, scurvy and rickets there had been 10 suspected plague cases in the past five years.

Labour has described the figures as a “national scandal” and accused the Prime Minister of “failing the nation’s health”.

Labour’s shadow public health minister Andrew Gwynne said: “David Cameron’s Government is taking the nation’s health back to the Victorian era. It is a national scandal diseases which were commonplace hundreds of years ago still exist in 21st century Britain.”

The data from the Health and Social Care Information Centre shows admissions for people with scurvy, which is caused by a lack of vitamin C, rose from 82 to 113 since 2010.

Cases of cholera, which broke out in London in 1854, leapt from nine in 2010 to 36 in 2015.

Although it no longer exists in the UK, it can be imported by visitors to the country.

There have been 1,200 typhoid cases since 2010. Malnutrition cases also rose from 5,000 to more than 7,000 in the past five years.

The plague, or Black Death, which is spread by flea bites from rodents, is treatable if caught early, if not it could lead to an outbreak.

It was responsible for the deaths of 25 million people in Europe during the Middle Ages Experts claim the plague still exists in parts of the world.

Professor Hugh Pennington, a leading expert on bacterial infections, said: “We have close civil links with countries where such diseases are more common and therefore we can become exposed abroad or when people come into the country.”