We may be living in the 21st century but diseases of the past that were once eradicated are now reappearing.
Typhoid, scarlet fever, mumps and measles have all reared their ugly head and it seems to be the lack of public health and the disappearance of the school nurse role that is causing the epidemics.
In the world of Charles Dickens these devastating diseases killed thousands of people due to lack of sanitary conditions and often ignorance by the medical profession.
Vaccinations were introduced in the nineteen sixties and seventies which saw a rapid decline meaning that infectious diseases like measles were more or less eradicated.
Last year there were over three thousand new cases of Scarlet fever reported and the medical world is concerned about an outbreak of treacherous strain of the disease.
However all these rising figures are a far cry from the high levels of the various “Victorian Age” type diseases which would swiftly wipe out villages and towns.
Scares about vaccination have been very significant in relation to mumps and measles and although confidence about them is on the increase it will take several years to reach the levels of take up that was experienced when they were first introduced.
It is also likely that with the internet providing a platform for those keen to attack public health methods such as vaccinations and that the days of almost 100 % of the population being safely protected is probably over.
Public awareness is essential in this area; thankfully sanitation is now a world away from Dickens times, although new poverty levels need to be monitored very closely.