James Gibson's "Feeding the Russian Fur Trade" mentions episodes of scurvy occurring during the expansion into the Russian Far East (Northern Siberia and Okhostk Seaboard). These lands were inhabited, but population growth outpaced the ability to provide vegetables. I previously thought scurvy had only occurred on sailing voyages and possibly in castaways.

Did scurvy occur among any other landborne human population?

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    Did you never play Oregon Trail and have your party die of scurvy?
    – AllInOne
    Jan 3, 2017 at 13:43

2 Answers 2


Yes. Infantile scurvy is a variant that affected toddlers and was not related to sea exploration

Eventually, with the provision of lemon juice to the sea voyagers, scurvy became rare at sea. Infantile scurvy appeared almost as a new disease toward the end of the 19th century. The increased incidence of infantile scurvy during that period was attributed to the usage of heated milk and proprietary foods.


The BBC suggests that scurvy has resurfaced in the UK, but does not say if this is infantile scurvy or if there are affected adults.

The numbers are very small, but scurvy is on the rise in England, according to official figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre. In the year up to April 2014, it was the primary diagnosis behind 16 hospital admissions and the primary or secondary cause of 94 admissions. Between 2009 and 2014, admissions related to scurvy went up by 27%.


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    In that same article: "The populations of the Great Potato Famine, the armies of the Crimean war and American civil war, the Arctic explorers, and the California gold rush communities were all prominent victims of scurvy on land." Jan 3, 2017 at 17:15

I remember a news report on the radio, decades ago (so I can't provide a source, sorry).

Parents went on a long holiday trip and gave their 16 to 18 year old children the house keys, a phone number for emergencies, and money for groceries etc.

The children decided to spend that money on pasta and rock records -- most of the money went to records. Malnutrition did happen. The news report quoted a physician: "If they had purchased ketchup to go with their pasta, it wouldn't have been quite as bad."

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    "Malnutrition did happen." Liked the way you put it. Franzenish. Jan 3, 2017 at 8:57
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    It is quite easy to have a bad nutrition today. Too much fat and sugar, bland white bread without fibers, not enough veggies and those overcooked. Actual scurvy is a very extreme case. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2466190/?page=1
    – o.m.
    Jan 3, 2017 at 11:44
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    Heck, I got low-grade scurvy my first few months in College. Turns out a diet that entirely consists of Captain Crunch doesn't quite cut it.
    – T.E.D.
    Jan 3, 2017 at 14:55

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