Leprosy






Disease Project-Leprosy

Out of all the diseases that exist today, one of them has always been considered a
curse of the damned. It did not kill people, nor did it seem to end. In biblical times, the
people with this disease were forsaken from the community and required to call out
“unclean, unclean”. This disease, Leprosy, also known as Hansen’s Disease is caused by
the bacteria Mycobacterium Leprae which is an acid-fast rod. Leprosy’s main mode of
transmission is from contact with upper respiratory droplets and broken skin. The leprosy
germ affects peripheral nerves which lie near the skin, bones and skin. If they are left
untreated, it can lead to a loss of feeling in the affected parts of the body. The hands, feet,
eyes and face are most at risk. Inattentive patients can pick up a pot of boiling water
without even noticing it because of not having feeling in the hands. Signs of leprosy
include a disfiguring of the skin and bones, twisting of the limbs, and curling of the fingers
to form the characteristic claw hand. Loss of facial features coexist with thickening of the
outer ear and collapse of the nose . Tumor like growths called lepromas from on the skin
and in the respiratory tract in lepromatous leprosy.
There is no toxin involved in leprosy. The treatment for it involves three
antibiotics, Dapsone, Rifampacin, and Clotazine. These three antibiotics that get rid of the
germ are a Multidrug Therapy (MDT). People with leprosy need to take treatment with
two drugs for six months. Severe infections need three drugs for 24 months. Attempts
have been made to immunize populations with BCG, the vaccine for Tuberculosis.
Leprosy has a long incubation period, but early diagnoses uses a procedure called the
lepromin test, similar to how TB is tested on the skin.
People affected by leprosy live in developing countries in Africa, Asia and South
America. It is a disease of poverty and tends to spread in areas of malnutrition and
overcrowding. Leprosy is most prevalent in India, Brazil, Bangladesh, Myanmar and
Indonesia.





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