Leprosy is an infectious disease derived from the French work "leper" and from the Greek word "lepros" which means scaly, referring to the scales that form on the skin in some cases of leprosy and that has been known since biblical times. Leprosy is characterized by disfiguring skin sores, nerve damage, and progressive debilitation. Leprosy is caused by a bacterium which affects various parts of the body, including in particular the skin and nerves. Leprosy is a difficult disease to transmit and has a long incubation period. Children are more susceptible than adults to contracting the disease.
Types of Leprosy
There are two main types of leprosy:
Both types of leprosy produce lesions on the skin, but the latter form i.e. Lepromatous is most severe which produces large disfiguring nodules.
Complications of Leprosy
Leprosy can cause:
Long-term leprosy may lose the use of hands or feet due to repeated injury resulting from lack of sensation.
Alternative Name of Leprosy: Hansen's disease
Causes of Leprosy
Leprosy is caused by the organism
Leprosy is common in many countries worldwide, and in temperate, tropical, and subtropical climates. Effective medications exist, and isolation of victims in leper colonies is unnecessary.
Signs & Symptoms of Leprosy
Leprosy symptoms generally appear three to five years after a person becomes infected with the bacteria that cause the disease. However, it can take as short as a few months or several decades. Leprosy symptoms include:
It is important to note that not all leprosy patients lose their fingers and toes. With early diagnosis and leprosy treatment, many of these symptoms can be prevented.
Diagnosis of Leprosy
While diagnosis leprosy a doctor can ask several question about patient's symptoms, current medical condition, and medication etc. The doctor can make a definitive diagnosis of leprosy by doing a test called a skin biopsy.
Skin scraping examination for acid fast bacteria
Preventions of Leprosy
Because leprosy can be cured with medicines, an early diagnosis will often reduce leprosy symptoms and complications. Therefore, while prevention of leprosy is not always possible, especially where leprosy is endemic, control should be possible.
Prevention consists of
Treatments of Leprosy
Historically, there was no cure for leprosy. With early diagnosis and treatment of leprosythe symptoms and complications can be minimized.
It is important to note that treatment of leprosy differs depending upon the form of the disease. Treatment will generally continue for one year for tuberculoid leprosy and for two years for lepromatous leprosy.
Treatment of leprosy typically involves medicines along with supportive care. Supportive care is aimed at treating symptoms and associated complications. A number of different antibiotics are used to kill the bacteria that causes the disease.