WANTED: Mycobacterium leprae

Known as Leprosy or Hansen's Disease

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Description: Leprosy is causes by long, skinny rod shaped bacteria.

M.O.: The bacteria attack the nerves of a body. They have been noted to cause inflammation in the extremities of infected individuals by turning off the immune system. On the cell wall of bacteria there are lipids that suppress T-cell activation without altering the membrane of the T cells. It can be spread through respiratory droplets, like sneezing and coughing.

Hide Out: The bacteria are found in the eyes, throat, upper respiratory tract, nasals, and all extremities. It affects the way nerves get signals to the brain.

Symptoms: The main symptoms of leprosy are pale-colored disfiguring skin sores, lumps, or bumps that can last for weeks or even months. It can also cause nerve damage that can lead to loss of feeling in the arms or legs.

Danger level: While leprosy can not technically kill you it can seriously damage and maim your body if not treated. Loss of eyesight, ability to sweat, eyebrow hair, loss of feeling in your arms or legs, etc. are some of the most dangerous aspects of the bacteria.

Crime Stats: Children of either gender are more likely to catch this disease than adults. The bacteria is most likely to be found in hot, tropical climates, for example in Brazil, India, or Madagascar.

Treatments: Treatment courses can last from 6-24 months, and can include surgery depending on the severity. Dapsone, Rifampicin, Clofazimine, Fluoroquinolones, Macrolides, and Minocycline are all drugs that can be used to treat leprosy. Treatment can cure a person of the infection but permanent damage can still be found on the body. To prevent contraction of the disease avoid long term contact with an infected person.