Rickets, historically referred to as "the English disease", is common worldwide. Absence of phosphate at the growth plate and mineralising bone surfaces due to inadequate vitamin D supply either from sunlight exposure or diet is the main cause. Inherited disorders causing hypophosphataemia have shown the intricacies of phosphate metabolism. Present advice about the provision of vitamin D to young infants needs to be clarified; the existing guidance is fragmentary and contradictory, and will not help to eradicate the disease.
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