Scurvy in the 21st century

Scurvy is a disease that we might have thought was gone long ago, since we all know that vitamin C cures scurvy, and we all know where to get vitamin C easily.

The cure for scurvy (fruits, and oranges in particular) has been discovered and rediscovered for thousands of years since at least 1500BCE, when scurvy was described in the Ebers papyrus in Egypt.

The actual vitamin C was not discovered until 1932, but it was proven in 1794 that lemon juice can prevent scurvy, when Commander Peter Rainier left on a voyage to India that took 23 weeks, in which not one person contracted scurvy. Another similar voyage only 50 years before that, led by George Anson, resulted in the loss of 1300 of 2000 crew mostly from scurvy.

To find that this disease is still visible today despite the cure being so readily available is surprising, and yet it is here.

An article in the Cornwall Alive newspaper describes increasing cases of scurvy, gout, and rickets among the population caused by the ease with which takeaway foods, which generally are not nutritionally good, can be bought.

Scurvy symptoms include fatigue, pain in the limbs, reddish-blue spots on the skin.

It doesn’t take a lot to avoid these problems. Just eat your fruits and vegetables, and go out into that sunlight every now and then.

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