Summary   Summary
Featured Diseases & Conditions
Health Awareness Articles
Articles
Symptom Checker

Symptom Checker
Just click on a body part, choose your symptom and search through a world of health information.

 

Search Diseases

Search Disease

Leprosy


Overview :

Leprosy is also known as Hansen's disease after G. A. Hansen, who in 1878 identified the bacillus Mycobacterium leprae that causes the disease.

The infection is characterized by abnormal changes of the skin. These changes, called lesions, are at first flat and red. Upon enlarging, they have irregular shapes and a characteristic appearance. The lesions are typically darker in color around the edges with discolored pale centers. Because the organism grows best at lower temperatures the leprosy bacillus has a preference for the skin, the mucous membranes and the nerves. Infection in and destruction of the nerves leads to sensory loss. The loss of sensation in the fingers and toes increases the risk of injury. Inadequate care causes infection of open wounds. Gangrene may also follow, causing body tissue to die and become deformed.

Because of the disabling deformities associated with it, leprosy has been considered one of the most dreaded diseases since biblical times, though much of what was called leprosy in the Old Testament most likely was not the same disease. Its victims were often shunned by the community, kept at arm's length, or sent to a leper colony. Many people still have misconceptions about the disease. Contrary to popular belief, it is not highly communicable and is extremely slow to develop. Household contacts of most cases and the medical personnel caring for Hansen's disease patients are not at particular risk. It is very curable, although the treatment is long-term, requiring multiple medications.

The World Health Organization (WHO) puts the number of identified leprosy cases in the world at about 600,000 as of the early 2000s. Seventy percent of all cases are found in just three countries: India, Indonesia, and Myanamar (Burma). The infection can be acquired, however, in the Western Hemisphere as well. There are about 5000 reported cases in the United States as of 2004, almost all of which involve immigrants from developing countries. Cases also occur in some areas of the Caribbean. Although it was thought for many years that only humans are affected by the disease, 15% of wild armadillos in southern Texas and Louisiana have been found to be infected with M. leprae.




 Image Gallary
 
Search for information related to Health and wellness
Health Centers
Cardiology and HeartMen's HealthWomen's HealthMother + ChildDiabetesStressInfectious DiseaseSkinEyeCancerStop SmokingWeight ManagementSexual HealthBlood Pressure ManagementAsthmaPregnancy and Child BirthAllergyHair LossDengueCold and FluSore ThroatADHDDental & Oral HealthHigh CholesterolDepressionPolioBreast CancerFood PoisonSnoringConjunctivitisCervical CancerJaundiceGeneral HealthMigraine / HeadacheThyroidBlood SugarProstate CancerKidney DiseaseAnxietyArthritisAutismBipolar DisorderCOPDCaregivingCrohn's DiseaseEpilepsyErectile DysfunctionHealthy AgingIncontinenceMeningitisMenopauseMultiple SclerosisOsteoporosisPain ManagementParkinson's DiseaseRelationshipsSleep ManagementStomach & DigestiveOsteoarthritisPertussisOveractive BladderRheumatoid ArthritisTonsils
Search for information related to Health and wellness
 
Health Pages
blood pressure cancer cholesterol test diabetes diets erectile dysfunction hair loss health health articles healthy living heart diseases high cholesterol pregnancy reduce weight vagina weight wellness health plan sexual problems lower cholesterol heart attack women health asthma weight loss anxiety back problems disease symptoms immunization for children indian home remedies indian recipes Manage weight pathology tests stress triglyceride treatment papillary thyroid cancer abortion rates in america woodford county health department polycystic ovary syndrome large breasts valley health anatomical heart total health vaccine for swine flu good skin care products flu cough family planning clinics doctor weight loss wellness program benefits