How To Cure Leprosy

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How To Cure Leprosy
How is the disease treated? Hansen’s disease is treated with a combination of antibiotics combination of antibiotics A combination antibiotic is one in which two ingredients are added together for additional therapeutic effect. One or both ingredients may be antibiotics.

Combination antibiotic – Wikipedia

, Typically, 2 or 3 antibiotics are used at the same time. These are dapsone with rifampicin, and clofazimine is added for some types of the disease.
Who Is at Risk? – In the U.S., Hansen’s disease is rare. Around the world, as many as 2 million people are permanently disabled as a result of Hansen’s disease. Overall, the risk of getting Hansen’s disease for any adult around the world is very low. That’s because more than 95% of all people have natural immunity to the disease. In the southern United States, some armadillos are naturally infected with the bacteria that cause Hansen’s disease. You may be at risk for the disease if you live in a country where the disease is widespread. Countries that reported more than 1,000 new cases of Hansen’s disease to WHO between 2011 and 2015 are:

Africa: Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Mozambique, Nigeria, United Republic of Tanzania Asia: Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines, Sri Lanka Americas: Brazil

You may also be at risk if you are in prolonged close contact with people who have untreated Hansen’s disease, If they have not been treated, you could get the bacteria that cause Hansen’s disease. However, as soon as patients start treatment, they are no longer able to spread the disease. The distribution of new leprosy cases by country among 136 countries that reported to WHO in 2015. India reported 127,326 new cases, accounting for 60% of the global new leprosy cases; Brazil, reported 26,395 new cases, representing 13% of the global new cases; and Indonesia reported 17,202 new cases, 8% of the global case load. No other countries reported >10,000 new cases. Eleven countries reported between 1000 and 10,000 cases: from Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Mozambique, Nigeria and United Republic of Tanzania; from Southeast Asia, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal and Sri Lanka; and from Western Pacific, the Philippines. Collectively, these countries reported 19,069 new cases, 14% of all new cases globally. The remaining 10,286 new cases (5%) were reported by 92 countries. Thirty countries reported zero new cases. Ninety-two countries did not report, several of which are known to have cases of leprosy. Source: : Transmission

How did we get rid of leprosy?

Is there a cure for leprosy today? – Yes. Thanks to modern medicine and the discovery of antibiotics, leprosy (Hansen’s disease) is curable. Over the past 20 years, over 16 million people have beat the disease.

Is leprosy a painful disease?

Signs and Symptoms Symptoms mainly affect the skin, nerves, and mucous membranes (the soft, moist areas just inside the body’s openings). The disease can cause skin symptoms such as: A large, discolored lesion on the chest of a person with Hansen’s disease.

Discolored patches of skin, usually flat, that may be numb and look faded (lighter than the skin around) Growths (nodules) on the skin Thick, stiff or dry skin Painless ulcers on the soles of feet Painless swelling or lumps on the face or earlobes Loss of eyebrows or eyelashes

Symptoms caused by damage to the nerves are:

Numbness of affected areas of the skin Muscle weakness or paralysis (especially in the hands and feet) Enlarged nerves (especially those around the elbow and knee and in the sides of the neck) Eye problems that may lead to blindness (when facial nerves are affected)

Enlarged nerves below the skin and dark reddish skin patch overlying the nerves affected by the bacteria on the chest of a patient with Hansen’s disease. This skin patch was numb when touched. Symptoms caused by the disease in the mucous membranes are: Since Hansen’s disease affects the nerves, loss of feeling or sensation can occur.

Paralysis and crippling of hands and feet Shortening of toes and fingers due to reabsorption Chronic non-healing ulcers on the bottoms of the feet Blindness Loss of eyebrows Nose disfigurement

Other complications that may sometimes occur are:

Painful or tender nerves Redness and pain around the affected area Burning sensation in the skin

: Signs and Symptoms

Does leprosy end in death?

While leprosy cannot be the direct cause of death, it leaves permanent disabilities when it is not properly treated or when the infection is not spotted early enough.

Is leprosy Forever?

Leprosy is an infectious disease that causes severe, disfiguring skin sores and nerve damage in the arms, legs, and skin areas around your body. Leprosy has been around since ancient times. Outbreaks have affected people on every continent. But leprosy isn’t that contagious.

  1. You can catch it only if you come into close and repeated contact with nose and mouth droplets from someone with untreated leprosy.
  2. Children are more likely to get leprosy than adults.
  3. Today, about 208,000 people worldwide are infected with leprosy, according to the World Health Organization, most of them in Africa and Asia.

About 100 people are diagnosed with leprosy in the U.S. every year, mostly in the South, California, Hawaii, and some U.S. territories. Leprosy primarily affects your skin and nerves outside your brain and spinal cord, called the peripheral nerves. It may also strike your eyes and the thin tissue lining the inside of your nose.

Loss of feeling in the arms and legsMuscle weakness

It usually takes about 3 to 5 years for symptoms to appear after coming into contact with the bacteria that causes leprosy. Some people do not develop symptoms until 20 years later. The time between contact with the bacteria and the appearance of symptoms is called the incubation period.

Leprosy’s long incubation period makes it very difficult for doctors to determine when and where a person with leprosy got infected. Leprosy is caused by a slow-growing type of bacteria called Mycobacterium leprae ( M. leprae ). Leprosy is also known as Hansen’s disease, after the scientist who discovered M.

leprae in 1873. It isn’t clear exactly how leprosy is transmitted. When a person with leprosy coughs or sneezes, they may spread droplets containing the M. leprae bacteria that another person breathes in. Close physical contact with an infected person is necessary to transmit leprosy.

It isn’t spread by casual contact with an infected person, like shaking hands, hugging, or sitting next to them on a bus or at a table during a meal. Pregnant mothers with leprosy can’t pass it to their unborn babies. It’s not transmitted by sexual contact either. Leprosy is defined by the number and type of skin sores you have.

Specific symptoms and treatment depend on the type of leprosy. The types are:

Tuberculoid. A mild, less severe form of leprosy. People with this type have only one or a few patches of flat, pale-colored skin (paucibacillary leprosy). The affected area of skin may feel numb because of nerve damage underneath. Tuberculoid leprosy is less contagious than other forms. Lepromatous. A more severe form of the disease. It brings widespread skin bumps and rashes (multibacillary leprosy), numbness, and muscle weakness. The nose, kidneys, and male reproductive organs may also be affected. It is more contagious than tuberculoid leprosy. Borderline. People with this type of leprosy have symptoms of both the tuberculoid and lepromatous forms.

You may also hear doctors use this simpler classification:

Single lesion paucibacillary (SLPB): One lesionPaucibacillary (PB): Two to five lesionsMultibacillary (MB): Six or more lesions

If you have a skin sore that might be leprosy, the doctor will remove a small sample of it and send it to a lab to be examined. This is called a skin biopsy, Your doctor may also do a skin smear test. If you have paucibacillary leprosy, there won’t be any bacteria in the test results.

If you have multibacillary leprosy, there will be. You may need a lepromin skin test to see which type of leprosy you have. For this test, the doctor will inject a small amount of inactive leprosy-causing bacteria just underneath the skin of your forearm. They’ll check the spot where you got the shot 3 days later, and then again 28 days later, to see if you have a reaction.

If you do have a reaction, you may have tuberculoid or borderline tuberculoid leprosy. People who don’t have leprosy or who have lepromatous leprosy won’t have a reaction to this test. Leprosy can be cured. In the last 2 decades, 16 million people with leprosy have been cured.

  • The World Health Organization provides free treatment for all people with leprosy.
  • Treatment depends on the type of leprosy that you have.
  • Antibiotics are used to treat the infection.
  • Doctors recommend long-term treatment, usually for 6 months to a year.
  • If you have severe leprosy, you may need to take antibiotics longer.

Antibiotics can’t treat the nerve damage that comes with leprosy. Multidrug therapy (MDT) is a common treatment for leprosy that combines antibiotics. That means you’ll take two or more medications, often antibiotics:

Paucibacillary leprosy: You’ll take two antibiotics, such as dapsone each day and rifampicin once a month. Multibacillary leprosy: You’ll take a daily dose of the antibiotic clofazimine in addition to the daily dapsone and monthly rifampicin. You’ll take multidrug therapy for 1-2 years, and then you’ll be cured.

You may also take anti-inflammatory drugs to control nerve pain and damage related to leprosy. This could include steroids, like prednisone. Doctors sometimes treat leprosy with thalidomide, a potent medication that suppresses your immune system, It helps treat leprosy skin nodules.

Blindness or glaucoma Iritis Hair loss Infertility Disfiguration of the face (including permanent swelling, bumps, and lumps) Erectile dysfunction and infertility in menKidney failureMuscle weakness that leads to claw-like hands or a not being able to flex your feetPermanent damage to the inside of your nose, which can lead to nosebleeds and a chronic stuffy nosePermanent damage to the nerves outside your brain and spinal cord, including those in the arms, legs, and feet

Nerve damage can lead to a dangerous loss of feeling. If you have leprosy-related nerve damage, you may not feel pain when you get cuts, burns, or other injuries on your hands, legs, or feet.

Why is leprosy fatal?

Hansen’s Disease (Leprosy) Hansen’s disease (also known as leprosy) is an infection caused by slow-growing bacteria called Mycobacterium leprae, It can affect the nerves, skin, eyes, and lining of the nose (nasal mucosa). With early diagnosis and treatment, the disease can be cured. People with Hansen’s disease can continue to work and lead an active life during and after treatment. Leprosy was once feared as a highly contagious and devastating disease, but now we know it doesn’t spread easily and treatment is very effective. However, if left untreated, the nerve damage can result in crippling of hands and feet, paralysis, and blindness. : Hansen’s Disease (Leprosy)

What countries still have leprosy?

Although the number of cases worldwide continues to fall, pockets of high prevalence continue in certain areas such as Brazil, South Asia (India, Nepal), some parts of Africa (Tanzania, Madagascar, Mozambique) and the western Pacific.

How long does leprosy last?

How is the disease treated? – Hansen’s disease is treated with a combination of antibiotics. Typically, 2 or 3 antibiotics are used at the same time. These are dapsone with rifampicin, and clofazimine is added for some types of the disease. This is called multidrug therapy.

Tell your doctor if you experience numbness or a loss of feeling in certain parts of the body or in patches on the skin. This may be caused by nerve damage from the infection. If you have numbness and loss of feeling, take extra care to prevent injuries that may occur, like burns and cuts. Take the antibiotics until your doctor says your treatment is complete. If you stop earlier, the bacteria may start growing again and you may get sick again. Tell your doctor if the affected skin patches become red and painful, nerves become painful or swollen, or you develop a fever as these may be complications of Hansen’s disease that may require more intensive treatment with medicines that can reduce inflammation.

If left untreated, the nerve damage can result in paralysis and crippling of hands and feet. In very advanced cases, the person may have multiple injuries due to lack of sensation, and eventually the body may reabsorb the affected digits over time, resulting in the apparent loss of toes and fingers.

Corneal ulcers or blindness can also occur if facial nerves are affected, due to loss of sensation of the cornea (outside) of the eye. Other signs of advanced leprosy may include loss of eyebrows and saddle-nose deformity resulting from damage to the nasal septum. Antibiotics used during the treatment will kill the bacteria that cause leprosy.

But while the treatment can cure the disease and prevent it from getting worse, it does not reverse nerve damage or physical disfiguration that may have occurred before the diagnosis. Thus, it is very important that the disease be diagnosed as early as possible, before any permanent nerve damage occurs.

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How did leprosy get to Europe?

Leprosy in the Classical and Middle ages – Hansen’s disease was brought into the Mediterranean countries of Europe at an earlier date. Many historians think that leprosy was introduced into Greece by the troops of Darius of Persia during the 4 th century BC and then the troops of Greek Macedonian king Alexander the Great (Ἀλέξανδρος o Μέγας, 356–323 BC) may have brought it from India to Egypt in the 5 th century BC.

Indeed, the Greek historian Herodotus (Ἡρόδοτος, 484–425 BC) in his work ‘The Histories’ (Ἱστορίαι, 440 BC), disease referring to the Persian population in Book I, chapter 138, writes about leprosy: ” The citizen who has leprosy or the white sickness may not come into a town or consort with other Persians.

They say that he is so afflicted because he has sinned in some wise against the sun. Many drive every stranger, who takes such a disease, out of the country; and so they do to white doves, for the reason after this. Rivers they chiefly reverence; they will neither make water nor spit nor wash their hands therein, nor suffer anyone so to do,” Reference to leprosy is found in the Bible, particularly in the Old Testament with the Hebrew word ” zaraath “.

  • The term was then translated from Hebrew to Greek, ca.300 BC, as “lepra” in the New Testament and then into “leprosy” in the current language.
  • The terrible biblical descriptions of the illness consequences are responsible for much of the stigma attached to leprosy that still exists today,
  • Some descriptions in the Hippocrates and then Aristotle’s texts probably are referred to patients affected with leprosy, but the opinion of Hansen’s disease experts is that neither man had a real knowledge of the disease.

Later it is described by Aulus Cornelius Celsus (25 BC-37AD), Pliny the Elder (23–79 AD), Rufus of Ephesus (Ῥοῦϕος ὁ Ἐϕέσιος, late 1 st and early 2 nd centuries AD). But the first accurate description of the disease was written by the physician Aretaeus (Ἀρɛταῖος), around 150 AD, one of the most celebrated of the ancient Greek physicians of the 1 st century AD; he was born in Greece, he studied medicine in Alexandria and practiced in Rome; he is generally styled “the Cappadocian” (Καππαδόκης) because he was citizen of Cappadocia, a Roman province in Asia Minor.

Aretaeus’s work is summarized in eight books in the Ionic dialect, distinguishing the diseases in acute and chronic and the same does also for their therapeutic treatment. Indeed, in the general treaties for the chronic diseases ” Πɛρί αιτίων και σημɛίων χρονίων παθών, Κɛϕ. ιγ΄: πɛρὶ Ἐλέϕαντος” (On the causes and symptoms of chronic disease, in Book II, Chapter XIII: On Elephas), he described with great accuracy leprosy called as “Ἐλέϕαντος” (Elephant), referring probably for the thickness of the skin that the disease causes or for the severity of symptoms, as not fatal and transmitted through the respiratory root, with large nodules and ulcers of the fingers, knees and cheeks and absorption of fingers and toes, but also he made a suggestive description of the leonine face of the lepers ones: ” τάδɛ καὶ τοῖσι ὑγιαίνουσι κάρτα οὐκ ἀήθɛα· ἐπὶ δὲ τῇσι αὐξήσɛσι τοῦ πάθɛος ἀναπνοὴ βρωμώδης ἐκ τῆς ἔνδον διαϕθορῆς τοῦ πνɛύματος.

τοιάδɛ ὁ ἀὴρ, ἤ τι τῶν ἔξωθɛν αἰτίην ἴσχɛιν δοκέɛι ” ( ” But upon the increase of the affection, the respiration is fetid from the corruption within of the breath (pneuma). The air, or something external, would seem to be the cause of this “) ” ἢν δὲ πολλὸν αἴρηταί τι ἀπὸ τῶν ἔνδοθɛν, ἡ πάθη καὶ ἐπὶ τοῖσι ἄκροισι ϕαίνηται, λɛιχῆνɛς ἐπὶ τοῖσι ἄκροισι δακτύλοισι, γούνασι κνησμοὶ, καὶ τῶν κνησμῶν ἅπτονται μɛθ᾽ ἡδονῆς· ἀμπίσχɛι δὲ ὁ λɛιχὴν καὶ γένɛιόν κοτɛ ἐν κύκλ ῳ· ἐρɛύθɛι δὲ καὶ μῆλα ξὺν ὄγκῳ οὐ κάρτα μɛγάλῳ· ὀττίɛς ἀχλυώδɛɛς, χαλκώδɛɛς· ὀϕρύɛς προβλῆτɛς, παχɛῖαι, ψιλαὶ, βρίθουσαι κάτω, μɛσοϕρύων ξυνηγμένων ὀχθώδɛɛς· χρῶμα πɛλιδνὸν ἢ μέλαν.

  • Ἐπισκύνιον οὖν μέγα ἕλκɛται καλύπτɛιν ὄσσɛ, ὅκως τοῖς θυμουμένοις, ἢ λέουσι· διὰ τόδɛ καὶ λɛόντιον κικλήσκɛται.
  • Τοιγαροῦν οὐ λέουσι οὐδὲ ἐλέϕαντι μοῦνον, ἀλλὰ καὶ νυκτὶ θοῇ ἀταλάντος ὑπώπια.
  • Ῥὶς, σὺν ὄγκοισι μέλασι, ὀκριοɛιδέɛς, χɛιλέων προβολὴ παχɛίη· τὸ δὲ κάτω πɛλιδνόν· ἔκρινɛς· ὀδόντɛς οὐ λɛυκοὶ μὲν, δοκέοντɛς δὲ ὑπὸ μέλανος, ὦτα ἐρυθρὰ, μɛλανόɛντα, κɛκλɛισμένα, ἐλɛϕαντώδɛα, ὡς δοκέɛιν μέγɛθος ἴσχɛιν μέζον τοῦ ξυνήθɛος· ἕλκɛα ἐπὶ τῇσι βάσɛσι τῶν ὤτων, ἰχῶρος ῥύσις, κνησμώδɛα· ῥυσοὶ τὸ πᾶν σκῆνος ῥυτίσι τρηχɛίῃσι· ἀτὰρ καὶ ἐντομαὶ βαθɛῖαι, ὁκοῖον αὔλακɛς μέλανɛς τῶν ῥινῶν.

διὰ τοῦτο καὶ ὁ ἐλέϕας τοῦ πάθɛος τοὔνομα ” ( ” And the lichen sometimes embraces the chin all round; it reddens the cheeks, but is attended with no great swelling; eyes misty, resembling bronze; eyebrows prominent, thick, bald, inclining downwards, tumid from contraction of the intermediate space; colour livid or black; eye-lid, therefore, much retracted to cover the eyes, as in enraged lions; on this account it is named leontium.

Wherefore it is not like to the lions and elephants only, but also in the eye-lids “resembles swift night.” Nose, with black protuberances, rugged; prominence of the lips thickened, but lower part livid; nose elongated; teeth not white indeed, but appearing to be so under a dark body; ears red, black, contracted, resembling the elephant, so that they appear to have a greater size than usual; ulcers upon the base of the ears, discharge of ichor, with pruritus; shriveled all over the body with rough wrinkles; but likewise deep fissures, like black furrows on the skin; and for this reason the disease has got the name of elephas “) Aretaeus of Cappadocia wrote another treatise, as we have mentioned, about therapies of chronic diseases “Χρονίων νούσων θɛραπɛυτικόν”, Β΄ Βιβλίον, Κɛϕ.

ιγ᾽: Θɛραπɛία Ἐλέϕαντος (On the therapeutics of chronic disease, Book II, chapter XIII: cure of Elephas) ; in this text, he referred to some possible remedies to treat lepers: ” δέος δὲ ξυμβιοῦν τɛ καὶ ξυνδιαιτᾶσθαι, οὐ μɛῖον ἢ λοιμῷ. ἀναπνοῆς γὰρ ἐς μɛτάδοσιν ῥηϊδίη βαϕή ” ” and, moreover, there is a danger in living or associating with it no less than with the plague, for the infection is thereby communicated by the respiration ” “τί ἂν ὦν ɛὕροι τις ἐν ἰητρικῇ τοῦδɛ ἄξιον ἔχον ἄκος; ἀλλὰ γὰρ πάντα χρὴ ξυμϕέρɛιν ϕάρμακα, καὶ διαίτην, καὶ σίδηρα, καὶ πῦρ· καὶ τάδɛ κἢν μὲν ἔτι νɛοτόκῳ τῷ πάθɛϊ προσβάλῃς, ἐλπὶς ἰήσιος· ἢν δὲ ἐς ἀκμὴν ἥκῃ γɛνέσιος, καὶ ἐν τοῖσι σπλάγχνοισι ἑδραῖον ἵζῃ, ποτὶ καὶ ἐς τὰ πρόσωπα προσβάλλῃ, ἀνέλπιστος ὁ νοσέων ” ” Wherefore what sufficient remedy for it shall we find in medicine? But yet it is proper to apply every medicine and method of diet, – even iron and fire, – and these, indeed, if you apply to a recent disease there is hope of a cure.

But if fully developed, and if it has firmly established itself in the inward parts, and, moreover, has attacked the face, the patient is in a hopeless condition ” “. κἀγὼ δὲ ὁκόσα γιγνώσκω γράϕω· κɛδρίης κύαθον ἕνα, κράμβης δύο μίσγοντα, διδόναι. ἄλλο· σιδηρίτιδος τοῦ χυλοῦ κύαθος ɛἶς, τριϕυλλίου ɛἷς, οἴνου καὶ μέλιτος κύαθοι δύο.

ἄλλο· ἐλέϕαντος τοῦ ὀδόντος ῥινήματος ὁλκῆς δραχμὴ, ξὺν οἴνῳ Κρητὶ ἐς κυάθους δύο· ἀτὰρ καὶ τῶν ἔχɛων τῶν ἑρπɛτῶν θηρίων αἱ σάρκɛς, καὶ αἵδɛ ἐς ἀρτίσκους πɛπλασμέναι πίνονται· ἀποτάμνοντα δὲ χρὴ τῆς κɛϕαλῆς καὶ τῆς οὐραίης ἑκάστου, ὁκόσον δακτύλους τέσσαρας, τὸ λοιπὸν ἑψɛῖν ἐς διάκρισιν τῶν ἀκανθῶν.

τὰς δὲ σάρκας, ἀρτίσκους διαπλάσαντας, ψύχɛιν ἐν σκιῇ· πιπίσκɛιν δὲ τούσδɛ, ὅκως καὶ τὴν σκίλλην· καὶ αὐτοὶ δὲ οἱ ἔχιɛς ὄψον ἐν δɛίπνῳ· ὡς ἰχθύας δὲ χρὴ τούτους σκɛυάσαι· ἢν δὲ τὸ δι᾽ἐχιδνῶν, τὸ ποικίλον, παρέῃ ϕάρμακον, ἀντὶ πάντων πίνɛιν τόδɛ· ἴσχɛι γὰρ πάντα ὁμοῦ· ῥύπτɛιν δὲ καὶ τὸ σκῆνος, καὶ τοὺς ὄχθους λɛαίνɛιν,” “.

And I will now describe those with which I am acquainted. Mix one cyathus of cedria and two of brassica, and give. Another: Of the juice of sideritis, of trefoil one cyathus, of wine and honey two cyathi. Another: Of the shavings of an elephant’s tooth one dram with wine, to the amount of two cyathi.

  • Another: Of the shavings of an elephant’s tooth one dram with wine, to the amount of two cyathi.
  • But likewise the flesh of the wild reptiles, the vipers, formed into pastils, are taken in a draught.
  • From their heads and tail we must cut off to the extent of four fingers’ breadth, and boil the remainder to the separation of the back-bones; and having formed the flesh into pastils, they are to be cooled in the shade; and these are to be given in a draught in like manner as the squill.

The vipers, too, are to be used as a seasoner of food at supper, and are to be prepared as fishes. But if the compound medicine from vipers be at hand, it is t be drunk in preference to all others, for it contains together the virtues of all the others, so to cleanse the body and smooth down its asperities ” ” καὶ τόδɛ καταπάσσοντα ἀνατρίβɛιν.

ἐς δὲ τοὺς ὄχθους τοῦ προσώπου, κλημάτων τὴν σποδιὴν ξύν τινι θηρίων στέατι μίσγοντα χρίɛιν, λέοντος, ἢ παρδάλιος, ἢ ἄρκτου, ἢν δὲ μὴ, χηναλώπɛκος. ὅμοιον γὰρ ἐν ἀνομοίῳ, ὅκως πίθηκος ἀνθρώπῳ, ἄριστον· καὶ ἀμμωνιακὸν τὸ θυμίημα ξὺν ὄξɛϊ, καὶ ἀρνογλώσσου χυλῷ, ἢ πολυγόνου, καὶ ὑποκιστὶς καὶ λύκιον· ἢν δὲ πɛλιδναὶ ἔωσι αἱ σάρκɛς, προɛγχαράσσɛιν ἐκχυλώσιος ɛἵνɛκɛν· ἢν δ᾽ ἐπὶ τοῖσι δριμέσι ῥɛύμασι ἀναδαρέντα πρ η ̈ νɛιν τὰ μέρɛα ἐθέλῃς, τήλιος ἀϕέψημα, ἢ πτισάνης χυλὸς, ῥύμμα μαλθακόν· λιπας δὲ ῥόδινον, ἢ σχίνινον.

λουτρὰ δὲ ξυνɛχέα ξύμϕορα ἐς ὑγρασμὸν καὶ ἐς διαπνοὴν τῶν κακῶν χυμῶν,” ” For the callous protuberances of the face, we are to rub in the ashes of vine branches, mixed up with the suet of some wild animal, as the lion, the panther, the bear; or if these are not at hand, of the barnacle goose; for like in the unlike, as the ape to man, is most excellent.

  1. Also, the ammoniac perfume with vinegar and the juice of plantain, or of knot-grass, and hypocistis and lycium.
  2. But if the flesh be in a livid state, scarifications are to be previously made for the evacuation of the humours.
  3. But if you wish to soothe the parts excoriated by the acrid defluxions, the decoction of fenugreek, or the juice of ptisan, will form an excellent detergent application; also the oil of roses or of lentisk baths are appropriate for humectating the body, and for dispelling the depraved humours” Several Greek physicians, including Galen (Γαληνός,129–216AD), described a disease that may have been leprosy, but they did not refer to the disease using the term Lepra ( Λέπρα), from which the modern term leprosy derived; instead, they called it “ἐλɛϕαντίαση ” (elephantiasis), which will be later referred by their scholars as ” elephantiasis graecorum “.

Galen wrote about the illness as it existed in the actual Germany. In his tractate ” on leprosy ” there are some references to the pre-modern therapy of leprosy: Galen’s recommendations in the treatment of leprosy, which partly reports the thought of Aretaeus the Cappadocian, and wrote: ” it is necessary to make use of t he black vipers (snake meat) in food, drink, ointments a nd electuaries ” and he explained also detailed instructions to its preparation ” it should be boiled w ith scallions, dill, chickpeas and a little salt, and the j uice might be enriched perhaps with some squab, until i s good “, but he cannot explain the specific efficacy of this remedy,

Galen refers to a cataplasm remedy the “διὰ χυλῶν ἔμπλαστρον” (dia chylon emplastron) for the treatment of many types of ulcers and thus also for the ἐκδόρια (sores) of leprosy from the Greek physician Menecrates Tiberius Claudius Quirina (Μɛνɛκράτης Τιβέριος Κλαύδιος Κυρίνος) of the I th Century, on the text ” Πɛρὶ συνθέσɛως ϕαρμάκων τῶν κατὰ τόπους, Βιβλιον Z’ “, (De compositione medicamentorum per genera, Book 7) and wrote: ” Ὁ πρῶτος ɛὑρὼν Μɛνɛκράτης τὸ ϕάρμακον ” ( the first one who found the drug was Menecrates ).

He places him after the physician Andromachus of Crete or the Elder (Ανδρόμαχος ο Κρης, 50–68 AD) and contemporary with the physician Antonius Mousa (Αντώνιο Μούσα, 63 BC-14 AD), Diachylon cataplasm was a small patch that sticks to the skin composed from acre juices of different plants together with a substrate of lead oxide boiled together with olive oil and water.

  • It was applied on sheets of linen and when heated, acts as an adhesive plaster.
  • Galen also mentions another physician and surgeon Meges of Sidon (Μέγης ο ∑ιδώνιος, I th Century) disciple of Themison of Laodicea (Θɛμίσων ο λαοδίκης) a pupil of Asclepiades of Bithynia (Ασκληπιάδης, 124 BC-56 BC) and founder of the Methodic (Μɛθοδική) school of medicine.
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Galen reports about his pharmacological compound that removes inflammation from the leprosy skin areas. Finally, at the II th century (100 AD) the Greek physician Criton (Κρίτων) of Heraclea composed various cosmetic remedies and therefore also for leprosy use, thus mostly for the skin,

  • Leprosy was a very diffused illness in Europe during the medieval period, particularly between 1000 and 1400 AD.
  • It was widely spread into Europe during the Roman conquests and the crusades, which are considered one of the main reasons for its propagation in western Europe during this period.
  • We should mention here, the Roman emperor Flavio Valerio Aurelio Constantine or Constantine I the Great (274–337 AD) who was one of the most important figures of that period (he founded the Nova Roma or later also Constantinople) who was most likely affected by this disease.

This is testified by a sacred text called the ” Life of St Sylvester ” and some Western sacred iconography. However it would seem that he had not the severe multi-system disease but the mild only cutaneous form, Subsequently, many were the eminent doctors of the Roman Empire of the East (Byzantium) who described the illness as Oribasios of Pergamum (Ορɛιβάσιος Πɛργαμηνός, 325–403 AD), Paul of Aegina (Παύλος Αιγινήτης, 7th century AD), Chrysobalantes Theophanes or Nonnus (Χρυσοβαλάντης Θɛοϕάνης, 10 th century AD), Michael Psellus (Μιχαήλ Ψɛλλός, 11 th century AD) and Joannes Zackarias Actuarius (Ιωάννης Ζαχαρίας Ακτουάριος, 14 th century AD),

Oribasios of Pergamum who was the personal chief physician (archiatros) of the Emperor Julian the Apostate, wrote an overview of the medical knowledge of the time “Ιατρικαί ∑υναγωγαί” (Collectiones medicae) seventy volumes with comments that included his own observations for many diseases as the le leprosy.

Indeed, Oribasios provides us with a precious source on the history of ancient Greek medicine and divides the disease into two clinical form: the middle form, named “leprosy” (λὲπρα: skin scaly) and the severe one with multisystemic symptoms named “elephantiasis”,

  1. Later this knowledge was transmitted to the eminent medieval doctors of Western medical schools such as those of “Schola Medica Salernitana” (Salerno, southern Italy, 9 th century) and the school of Montpellier (1220 AD, France),
  2. In these centuries, lepers were considered carriers of a terrible disgrace, so they were treated inhumanly, discarded from society and strategically excluded in quarantined colonies, far enough from the cities to avoid the contagion.

Other people were so scared about the infection that lepers were marked with a strong and bad social stigma, so they could not go back to their occupations and to their families. They were forced to live into the hundreds, probably in the thousands ” lazar houses “, which were specific buildings to isolate sick people from the society.

Into these lazar houses, lepers followed strict rules of conformity to remain; otherwise, they were asked to leave and forced to live as a homeless person. During the Middle Ages “Leper Masses” were celebrated after the diagnosis of leprosy, to declare that the afflicted one was officially dead for the rest of society.

Lepers must wear bells or clappers, distinctive garments, all their personal effects were buried, sometimes their houses. Exemplary is the colored image of the manuscript ” Code Lansdowne ” from the 1 st quarter of the 15 th century. The image shows a leper with his bell that had to ring when they went out into the street to be recognized and so people moved away at a safe distance,

How many died from leprosy?

Abstract – Background: Leprosy is a public health problem and a neglected condition of morbidity and mortality in several countries of the world. We analysed time trends and spatiotemporal patterns of leprosy-related mortality in Brazil. Methods: We performed a nationwide population-based study using secondary mortality data.

  1. We included all deaths that occurred in Brazil between 2000 and 2011, in which leprosy was mentioned in any field of death certificates.
  2. Results: Leprosy was identified in 7732/12 491 280 deaths (0.1%).
  3. Average annual age-adjusted mortality rate was 0.43 deaths/100 000 inhabitants (95% CI 0.40-0.46).
  4. The burden of leprosy deaths was higher among males, elderly, black race/colour and in leprosy-endemic regions.

Lepromatous leprosy was the most common clinical form mentioned. Mortality rates showed a significant nationwide decrease over the period (annual percent change : -2.8%; 95% CI -4.2 to -2.4). We observed decreasing mortality rates in the South, Southeast and Central-West regions, while the rates remained stable in North and Northeast regions.

  • Spatial and spatiotemporal high-risk clusters for leprosy-related deaths were distributed mainly in highly endemic and socio-economically deprived regions.
  • Conclusions: Leprosy is a neglected cause of death in Brazil since the disease is preventable, and a cost-effective treatment is available.
  • Sustainable control measures should include appropriate management and systematic monitoring of leprosy-related complications, such as severe leprosy reactions and adverse effects to multidrug therapy.

Keywords: Brazil; Epidemiology; Leprosy; Mortality; Spatial analysis; Time analysis. © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: [email protected].

What is the oldest disease in the world?

It’s not the common cold. Nor is it arthritis, malaria, or leprosy. At least according to Healthplex Dental trivia, tooth decay is not only the oldest disease we know of, but also the most common and widespread. Not only is tooth decay the most common and widespread disease of humankind, it is the oldest.

Was leprosy always fatal?

Outcomes – Although leprosy has been curable since the mid-20th century, left untreated it can cause permanent physical impairments and damage to a person’s nerves, skin, eyes, and limbs. Despite leprosy not being very infectious and having a low pathogenicity, there is still significant stigma and prejudice associated with the disease.

Because of this stigma, leprosy can affect a person’s participation in social activities and may also affect the lives of their family and friends. People with leprosy are also at a higher risk for problems with their mental well-being. The social stigma may contribute to problems obtaining employment, financial difficulties, and social isolation.

Efforts to reduce discrimination and reduce the stigma surrounding leprosy may help improve outcomes for people with leprosy.

Can you walk with leprosy?

How does leprosy affect the body? – If left untreated, leprosy progresses and the nerve damage spreads. Lacking sensation in their hands and feet, people with leprosy can injure themselves. And these injuries can lead to ulcers, infection and permanent disability.

  1. Leprosy can cause muscle paralysis, resulting in clawed fingers and foot drop.
  2. This makes it difficult for people to walk or use their hands.
  3. It can also damage nerves in the face, causing the eyelid muscles to stop working.
  4. As the eyes are no longer protected by blinking, they are easily damaged, leading to sight loss and blindness.

Some people experience reactions to the leprosy bacteria in their body, even when the bacteria are no longer active and treatment is underway. These reactions can cause pain, sickness, swelling of the skin and fever.

Can leprosy go away on its own?

Transmission – The disease is transmitted through droplets from the nose and mouth. Prolonged, close contact over months with someone with untreated leprosy is needed to catch the disease. The disease is not spread through casual contact with a person who has leprosy like shaking hands or hugging, sharing meals or sitting next to each other.

Does leprosy have a vaccine?

To date, BCG has been used predominantly as a vaccine against TB, but it also contributes to the control of leprosy.

Does leprosy rot you?

Leprosy – lost limbs are a myth – Leprosy does not cause flesh to rot or fingers and toes to drop off. In the past, limbs that have been damaged because the person cannot feel pain have sometimes had to be amputated. Now that the disease can be detected early, the need to amputate is rare.

  • How leprosy is transmitted It is not known how leprosy is transmitted.
  • It is thought likely that leprosy is spread from person to person in respiratory droplets (droplets expelled from the nose and mouth, for example when an infected person coughs or sneezes).
  • In cases of leprosy in children under one year of age, it is thought possible that the infection may have been transmitted from the mother via the placenta.

Leprosy is not highly infectious. People at risk are generally in close and frequent contact with leprosy patients or living in countries where the disease is more common. The incubation period is thought to range from nine months to over 20 years.

How old was leprosy?

Abstract – Leprosy is a chronic infection of the skin and nerves caused by Mycobacterium leprae and the newly discovered Mycobacterium lepromatosis, Human leprosy has been documented for millennia in ancient cultures. Recent genomic studies of worldwide M.

  • Leprae strains have further traced it along global human dispersals during the past ∼100,000 years.
  • Because leprosy bacilli are strictly intracellular, we wonder how long humans have been affected by this disease-causing parasite.
  • Based on recently published data on M.
  • Leprae genomes, M.
  • Lepromatosis discovery, leprosy bacilli evolution, and human evolution, it is most likely that the leprosy bacilli started parasitic evolution in humans or early hominids millions of years ago.

This makes leprosy the oldest human-specific infection. The unique adaptive evolution has likely molded the indolent growth and evasion from human immune defense that may explain leprosy pathogenesis. Accordingly, leprosy can be viewed as a natural consequence of a long parasitism.

Why was leprosy so common?

Leprosy, or Hansen’s disease, was reported more than 3000 years ago. It was interpreted as a curse of the gods, or the punishment of sin, or a hereditary disease. It was in 1873, over a hundred years ago, that the Norwegian physician Gerhard Hansen saw the leprosy bacillus under the microscope and proved that leprosy was an infectious disease and not a curse. As a tribute to this great researcher, the disease is now named after him.

  • The term hanseniasis was first put forward by Abraao Rotberg in 1967, with the additional purpose of taking the sting out of the diagnosis.
  • Despite this discovery, lepers continued to be treated primarily by isolation in leper camps far from settled human habitations.
  • Leprosy originated either in Africa or Asia, but reached Europe through the conquering armies of Alexander the Great, circa 300 BC.

It ravaged Europe and the Middle East during the Dark Ages, until approximately 1870. During this period, the overcrowding, poor sanitation, and malnutrition of the poor people who made up the majority of the population contributed to a high incidence of leprosy.

Improved socioeconomic conditions led to a dramatic fall in the number of new cases. Leprosy reached South America from colonial invaders, mostly through African slaves brought into the country. Throughout much of world history, leprosy was incurable and disfiguring, which led to the feeling of horror and fear with which lepers were regarded.

Chaulmoogra oil injection was one of the few treatments which benefited at least some patients. However, its efficacy over the long term was unproved, and the injections were quite painful. In 1921, the U.S. Public Health Service set up a center for the study and treatment of leprosy in Carville, Louisiana, which became known as “Carville.” It was both a premier leprosy research center and a residential unit for leprosy patients, who often were unwelcome elsewhere.

  1. What Happens When You Get Leprosy? A great step forward was made with the discovery in 1940, at Carville, that sulfones were effective in treating leprosy, so much so that isolation was no longer necessary as the patient quickly became non-contagious.
  2. Yet quarantine in leper colonies was abolished by official decree only as late as the 1960s.

Despite this decision, most patients around the world remained confined to leprosy colonies. Sulfones had the serious drawback that a course of several painful injections were required to treat leprosy. Dr. Cochrane of Carville made the groundbreaking discovery in the 1950s, that oral sulfones were equally effective.

  1. Its effects seemed little short of miraculous, but unfortunately, drug resistance soon set in, rendering the drug useless when administered alone.
  2. This was followed by more intense research resulting in the announcement of guidelines for multi-drug therapy (MDT) by the World Health Organization in 1981.

The first trials were held on the historic island of Malta around 1970 and have been in use throughout most of the world since then. The duration of therapy may last 6-24 months depending on the severity and type of clinical manifestation. At present, much progress has been made on rehabilitation and plastic surgery to restore cosmetic and functional normalcy for leprosy patients who have lost parts of their faces or limbs to leprosy.

Can you be immune to leprosy?

What is Hansen’s disease? Hansen’s disease, also known as leprosy, is a complex infectious disease caused by a bacterium. The disease is often mistakenly identified as the “leprosy of the Old Testament,” which has been clearly shown not to be Hansen’s disease.

  • Hansen’s disease is not highly contagious and 95 percent of the human population has a natural immunity.
  • It responds well to treatment and, if diagnosed and treated early, does not cause disability.
  • The Hansen’s disease bacteria infect skin and sometimes other tissues, including the eye, the mucosa of the upper respiratory tract (nose) and the testes.
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Hansen’s disease always involves the peripheral nerves. If untreated, nerve damage can result in crippling of hands and feet and blindness. Early diagnosis and treatment are the keys to preventing Hansen’s disease-related disabilities. A person with HD can continue to work and lead an active life.

  • Hansen’s disease risk Those at greatest risk are the family of a person who has the disease, but is not being treated.
  • This could be because they are genetically susceptible and/or because they have prolonged contact with the infected individual.
  • A spouse is the least at-risk family member.
  • At greatest risk are children, brothers or sisters, or parents of an individual with untreated Hansen’s disease.

Hansen’s disease is not passed on from a mother to her unborn baby during pregnancy. Neither is it transmitted through sexual contact. Is Hansen’s disease contagious? Yes. However, it is not acquired from casual contact such as shaking hands, sitting next to someone on a bus, or sitting together at a meal.

  1. Hansen’s disease is far less contagious than other infectious diseases.
  2. More than 95 percent of the human population has a natural immunity to the disease.
  3. Healthcare workers rarely contract Hansen’s disease.
  4. Most cases of Hansen’s disease respond to treatment and become non-infectious within a very short time.

Treatment of Hansen’s disease Hansen’s disease is curable using antibiotics. The three most commonly used are Dapsone, Rifampin and Clofazimine. Other antibiotics, such as Clarithromycin, Ofloxacin, Levofloxacin and Minocycline also work well against M.

  1. Leprae, Dapsone and other Sulfone drugs were discovered to be effective in treating HD at the National Hansen’s Disease Program in 1941.
  2. These medications continue to be an important weapon against this disease.
  3. Treatment regimens differ depending upon the form of the disease (see Treatment Guidelines ).

The National Hansen’s Disease Programs recommends treatment for 1 or two years, depending on the form of disease. Treatment rapidly renders the disease non-communicable by killing nearly all the bacilli within a few days. These dead bacilli are then cleared from the body slowly, within a variable number of years, so that these dead bacilli may continue to be found in skin biopsies for several years.

The National Hansen’s Disease Programs in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is the only institution in the U.S. exclusively devoted to Hansen’s disease. The center functions as a referral and consulting center with related research and training activities. Most patients in the U.S. are treated at National Hansen’s Disease Programs Ambulatory Care Clinics in major cities or by private physicians.

See more on National Hansen’s Disease Ambulatory Care Clinics, Finding Treatment for Hansen’s disease People with Hansen’s disease in the U.S. can receive Hansen’s disease medications at no cost through their own doctor or through the National Hansen’s Disease Programs Ambulatory Care Clinic closest to them.

  1. For further information, phone the National Hansen’s Disease Programs toll-free, weekdays 9 a.m.
  2. To 5:30 p.m.
  3. At 1-800-642-2477,
  4. Where on body is Hansen’s disease found? Because the bacteria that cause Hansen’s disease like the cooler parts of the body, the skin and its nerves are affected.
  5. This can cause dryness and stiffness of the skin.

In some cases affected nerves can swell, causing pain. There can be loss of feeling and weakness in the muscles of the hands or feet. Identifying Hansen’s disease Hansen’s disease in the U.S. is rare, but between 150 and 200 new cases are reported each year.

The first signs of Hansen’s disease are usually pale or slightly red areas or a rash on the trunk or extremities. Frequently, but not always, there is an associated decrease in light touch sensation in the area of the rash. A loss of feeling in the hands or feet may also be the first signs of Hansen’s disease.

These changes in sensation are a valuable clue to diagnosis. Nasal congestion may be a sign of infection, but infection is more often associated with changes of the skin on the face, such as thinning of the eyebrows or eyelashes. Your doctor can make the diagnosis by doing a test called a skin biopsy, which reveals a particular pathologic pattern and demonstrates the specific “red” staining bacteria.

By far the most important diagnostic tool is the biopsy of the rash. There are no reliable ‘blood tests’ for the diagnosis of Hansen’s disease. Although some blood tests are promoted in some countries, they are not used in the United States. Hansen’s disease and disfigurement People with Hansen’s disease who are diagnosed and treated early avoid many of the complications associated with the disease and experience no disfigurement or disability.

Problems with insensitive fingers or toes can be prevented by avoiding injury and infections to these areas, and by taking the Hansen’s disease medicines. Many patients with the tuberculoid or Paucibacillary form of Hansen’s disease can even self-heal without benefit of treatment, but it is the standard of care to treat all patients identified with the disease.

  1. Hansen’s disease transmission The most commonly accepted theory is that Hansen’s disease is transmitted by way of the respiratory tract, since large numbers of bacteria can be found in the nose of some untreated patients.
  2. The degree of susceptibility of the person, the extent of exposure and environmental conditions are among factors probably of great importance in transmission.

Exposure to Hansen’s disease If you think you have been exposed to Hansen’s disease, you do not need to take any action. Most people have a natural immunity and there is no need for prophylaxis. We do not yet have a vaccine or a blood or skin test that will tell if you have been exposed or if you have pre-clinical disease, although both of these are active areas of research at the National Hansen’s Disease Programs.

Household contacts of people with Hansen’s disease should have a thorough physical examination annually for five years. If they develop a questionable skin rash, they should notify their healthcare providers and have the skin rash biopsied to determine whether or not Hansen’s disease is present. Hansen’s disease in the U.S.

and the world In the U.S., there are approximately 6,500 cases on the National Hansen’s Disease Programs Registry. This includes all cases reported since the registry began and who are still living. The number of cases with active disease and requiring drug treatment or management is approximately 3,300.

The NHDP compiles a statistical summary of new cases which present in the United States each year. Between 150 and 200 new U.S. cases are reported to the Registry annually. The largest number of U.S. cases is in California, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, New York, Texas and Puerto Rico. ( National Hansen’s Disease Programs Data ) The World Health Organization, which compiles global Hansen’s disease data, registered a total of 296,499 new cases worldwide in 2008.

This data indicates a rapid, drastic reduction of the number of cases seen each year for the previous 12 years and have raised questions. See the World Health Organization report, Global Leprosy Situation 2006 (not a U.S. Government Web site, pdf). Such data is very dependent upon operational factors such as the method of case finding (i.e., active screening of high risk groups, vs ‘passive’ case finding – waiting for patients to come to a clinic).

  1. Delayed Hansen’s disease diagnosis Unfortunately, the rash caused by Hansen’s disease often resembles other skin diseases.
  2. Hansen’s disease is a slowly developing, chronic, infectious disease and 2 to 10 years may elapse before clinical signs and symptoms appear.
  3. Moreover most private sector physicians in the U.S.

lack experience with this disease, and do not consider a diagnosis of Hansen’s disease, even in a patient who has lived in or migrated from a country where Hansen’s disease is prevalent. Often a patient sees several physicians before the correct diagnosis is made, delaying the initiation of treatment even more.

  • Forms of Hansen’s disease Classification of this disease is complex, but overall there are two forms.
  • Tuberculoid (or Paucibacillary – few bacilli) is a limited form of the disease that is contagious.
  • Lepromatous (or Multibacillary – many bacilli) is a more generalized form.
  • Proper classification requires a skin biopsy.

These are evaluated at the National Hansen’s Disease Programs at no charge. Hansen’s disease and tuberculosis Mycobacterium leprae, the bacillus that causes Hansen’s disease is in the same bacterial family as M. tuberculosis, the bacillus that causes tuberculosis.

Because of this relationship, the National Hansen’s Disease Program conducts extramurally-funded research on tuberculosis. For more information, please see the National Hansen’s Disease Program Research webpage, Hansen’s disease reaction Some patients experience what is called a reaction after treatment has begun.

This is a response of the immune system to dead or dying bacteria and can cause worsening of the rash or a painful neuritis which can affect sensation and/or strength. Reactions are NOT caused by the treatment, and are NOT a sign that the treatment is working.

Are there any Leper colonies today?

Inside Kashmir’s last leper colony 71 leprosy patients remain in the colony till this day. Their story is a testament to the power of community and the danger of stigma. The Bahar-Aar sanatorium sits on the banks of Nigeen Lake in Indian-administered Kashmir. The 71 people who live here bear the permanent scars of leprosy – a disease that turned them into outcasts.

is a chronic infectious disease caused by slow-growing bacteria called Mycobacterium leprae, which affects the peripheral nerves, eyes, skin and nose lining.Although there has been a cure for leprosy since 1940, communities worldwide have continued to force infected patients into quarantine sites referred to as ‘’ for many decades – sentencing them to a life of isolation.About such colonies still exist in India today, housing an estimated 200,000 people.Kashmir’s leper colony, which is tucked away on the outskirts of the capital Srinagar, is spread out over 60 acres and has a total of 64 rooms that can accommodate 200 people.As one walks through the narrow alleys of Srinagar’s Lal Bazar towards the colony, the disparity is evident, as huge modern houses give way to decrepit one-story shacks dotted with newly constructed residential quarters.

The leper colony was established by the Kashmir Medical Mission in the 18th century under British rule. The leprosy patients, ostracised by society, were assembled from various parts of Kashmir and brought here.

What happens if a human gets leprosy?

Hansen’s Disease (Leprosy) Hansen’s disease (also known as leprosy) is an infection caused by slow-growing bacteria called Mycobacterium leprae, It can affect the nerves, skin, eyes, and lining of the nose (nasal mucosa). With early diagnosis and treatment, the disease can be cured. People with Hansen’s disease can continue to work and lead an active life during and after treatment. Leprosy was once feared as a highly contagious and devastating disease, but now we know it doesn’t spread easily and treatment is very effective. However, if left untreated, the nerve damage can result in crippling of hands and feet, paralysis, and blindness. : Hansen’s Disease (Leprosy)

Is leprosy treatable now?

How is the disease treated? – Hansen’s disease is treated with a combination of antibiotics. Typically, 2 or 3 antibiotics are used at the same time. These are dapsone with rifampicin, and clofazimine is added for some types of the disease. This is called multidrug therapy.

Tell your doctor if you experience numbness or a loss of feeling in certain parts of the body or in patches on the skin. This may be caused by nerve damage from the infection. If you have numbness and loss of feeling, take extra care to prevent injuries that may occur, like burns and cuts. Take the antibiotics until your doctor says your treatment is complete. If you stop earlier, the bacteria may start growing again and you may get sick again. Tell your doctor if the affected skin patches become red and painful, nerves become painful or swollen, or you develop a fever as these may be complications of Hansen’s disease that may require more intensive treatment with medicines that can reduce inflammation.

If left untreated, the nerve damage can result in paralysis and crippling of hands and feet. In very advanced cases, the person may have multiple injuries due to lack of sensation, and eventually the body may reabsorb the affected digits over time, resulting in the apparent loss of toes and fingers.

Corneal ulcers or blindness can also occur if facial nerves are affected, due to loss of sensation of the cornea (outside) of the eye. Other signs of advanced leprosy may include loss of eyebrows and saddle-nose deformity resulting from damage to the nasal septum. Antibiotics used during the treatment will kill the bacteria that cause leprosy.

But while the treatment can cure the disease and prevent it from getting worse, it does not reverse nerve damage or physical disfiguration that may have occurred before the diagnosis. Thus, it is very important that the disease be diagnosed as early as possible, before any permanent nerve damage occurs.

Is leprosy treatable today?

Treatment – Leprosy is a curable disease. The currently recommended treatment regimen consists of three drugs: dapsone, rifampicin and clofazimine. The combination is referred to as multi-drug therapy (MDT). The duration of treatment is six months for PB and 12 months for MB cases.