Scurvy has returned to Australia as people overcook vegetables and fail to eat fresh fruit, reports BT.com.
Professor Jenny Gunton, head of the Centre for Diabetes, Obesity and Endocrinology research at the Westmead Institute, made the discovery when treating patients at a hospital in Sydney, the report said.
The professor was trying to discover why patients had long-running unhealed wounds, and discovered that a dose of vitamin C cured the problems.
Scurvy is historically associated with sailors from the Old World who were unable to access fruit and vegetables on long journeys, leading to vitamin C deficiencies.
The disease can cause bruising, bleeding gums, joint pain and a longer recovery time from wounds.
What Gunton discovered may show that scurvy is reappearing in Australia due to poor dietary habits.
“When I asked about their diet, one person was eating little or no fresh fruit and vegetables, but the rest ate fair amounts of vegetables; they were simply over-cooking them, which destroys the vitamin C,” she said.
Interestingly, her report found no link between income and vitamin C deficiency as her patients came from a range of socio-economic backgrounds.