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The United Kingdom is experiencing a resurgence of diseases from the Victorian era

The United Kingdom is experiencing a resurgence of diseases from the Victorian era

Englishman We are facing a resurgence of diseases from another era. Explanations.

  • Rickets, cholera, typhoid, scabies, scurvy, scarlet fever, whooping cough, measles, tuberculosis: In the United Kingdom, doctors Notice A resurgence of diseases we thought belonged to the past. Pains “Victorian Period” (1837-1901). Two main reasons have been singled out. On the one hand, these diseases “Related to poverty”. Their resurgence is linked to people's poverty (one in five Britons now live below the poverty line). On the other hand, the return of some diseases like measles is directly linked to relaxation of vaccination practices.

  • Since old diseases reappear, many interrelated conclusions can be drawn. First, as the political scientist says Jean-Michel Aimery And the doctor Jean-François Girard In When health is public (1998), in most cases, “Elimination of disease is a perfect utopia”. Failing that, kept at a distance from the human world by self-protective immune barriers, viruses and bacteria continue hither and thither depending on invisible dynamics that are completely uncontrollable. They are inside or outside the boundaries of human society, waiting for an opportunity – the relaxation of security systems: vaccination, sanitary measures, etc.

  • Second observation: These protective systems are not only related to medicine in the narrow sense, but only to healing. “Ancient Diseases […] Some of them are experiencing an alarming resurgence, showing us that medicine in the classic sense of the word cannot be the answer; The fact that they still exist proves that our medical science and approach is in check here. » Treating diseases—eradicating pathogens—is one. Preventing their growth, improving immunity and ensuring health is another. Today, we certainly know how to handle cases of sick people. But these highly effective treatments can be quickly overwhelmed if an infectious agent finds a place to establish itself and spread exponentially, in poor health in the overall population.

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  • Third effect: Health policies should specifically ensure “collective health”, “health of society”. “It is often the human community that develops the most appropriate and effective structures for responding to disease – or protecting people from it. » A human society, a substantial part of which is weakened and more exposed to the risk of epidemics. Once a pathogen spreads to a significant extent, the risk of pathological contamination increases, including the healthy, who are most exposed – unless they seal themselves into a bubble, unless they present obvious social and political problems for the rest of the population. In these conditions, clinging to one is futile “A biomedical and healing model excluding any demographic, social and cultural approach”. The causes of frailty cannot be reduced to purely biological problems. Poverty and related vulnerabilities (malnutrition, poor housing, limited access to sanitary products, etc.) prove to be a particularly decisive factor. “Prostitution and unsanitary conditions underlie poverty, […] Optimal conditions for the development of rapidly spreading diseases. »

  • Immunity is a collective construct. It is a continuous construction, a permanent reconstruction. As already stated, the social body is not protected once and for all – its immunity is never definitively acquired. It is even less because, precisely, it is not really a body. The vaccinated body is protected as a whole. The social system, for its part, is not inoculated all at once: its myriad elements must constantly be inoculated anew. These organs live and die; Their children inherit a certain immune heritage, but they still need to be vaccinated. As for health measures to control transmission, they involve actions that, to be effective, must be repeated regularly, and at all scales. The resurgence of old diseases that we thought belonged to the past clearly underscores the current breakdown of these complex and dynamic mechanisms of immunity.

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