Leprosy

AKA Hansen's Disease

Description

An infection that affects the skin, peripheral nerves (nerves outside of brain and spinal cord), the upper part of the airway, or testes. There are two types of the disease Tuberculoid Leprosy (the milder one) and Lepromatous Leprosy (most contagious form)

Causes/Effects

Causes:

A chronic infection caused by a bacteria called Mycobacterium leprae


Effects:

sensory loss, motor or muscular weakness, paralysis, blindness, disfiguration of the face, erectile dysfunction, kidney failure and in extreme cases it can cause amputation of affected limbs

Transmission

The disease is transmitted by prolonged/close contact with people who have the disease and being exposed to droplets containing the bacteria; examples: coughing or sneezing. The bacteria can also be transmitted from mother to child through the placenta.

Stats

  • 95% of people are naturally immune to leprosy
  • it takes an average of 3 to 5 years after exposure to the bacteria to begin having symptoms of the disease
  • it can take up to 20 years to develop symptoms (making the disease much harder for doctors to determine when and where a person got infected)

Symptoms

Disfiguring skin sores, lumps, or bumps that may not go away after several weeks or months; the sores will be a pale color. Lepromatous leprosy is characterized by a chronic stuffy nose due to invasion of the mucous membranes. "Although patients with leprosy are commonly thought not to suffer pain, neuroapthic pain caused by inflammation of peripheral nerve endings is increasingly recognized as a major complication of the disease in many patients." (encyclopedia)

Duration of Disorder

The duration of leprosy is from the time it is contracted throughout the entire lifetime unless treated.

Treatments/Cures/Prevention

Treatments may last anywhere from 6-24 months to cure the disease. Some common drugs used in leprosy treatment are:

  • Dapsone
  • Rifampicin
  • Clofazimine
  • Fluoroquinolones
  • Macrolides
  • Minocycline