What is Leprosy?

Leprosy,this chronic infectious disease usually affects the skin and peripheral nerves but has a wide range of possible clinical manifestations. Patients are classified as having paucibacillary or multibacillary Hansen’s disease. Multibacillary Hansen’s disease is associated with symmetric skin lesions, nodules, plaques, thickened dermis, and frequent involvement of the nasal mucous resulting in nasal congestion and pistachios. It is most common in warm, wet areas in the tropics and subtropics.

  • Leprosy was recognized in the ancient civilizations of China, Egypt and India;
  • The first known written mention of leprosy is dated 600 BC;
  • Throughout history, the afflicted have often been ostracized by their communities and families.

What are the causes of Leprosy?

Leprosy is caused by the organism Mycobacterium  leprae . It is not very contagious (difficult to transmit) and has a long incubation period (time before symptoms appear), which makes it difficult to determine where or when the disease was contracted. Children are more susceptible than adults to contracting the disease.

Leprosy has two common forms, tuberculoid and lepromatous, and these have been further subdivided. Both forms produce sores on the skin, but the lepromatous form is most severe, producing large, disfiguring nodules (lumps and bumps).

Leprosy is common in many countries worldwide, and in temperate, tropical, and subtropical climates. Approximately 100 cases per year are diagnosed in the U.S. Most cases are limited to the South, California, Hawaii, and U.S. island possessions.

What are the symptoms of Leprosy?

Some of the symptoms of leprosy are as follows-

  • Skin symptoms.
  • Peripheral nerve symptoms.
  • Symptoms of paucibacillary Hansen’s disease:
    • Hypo pigmented skin maculae.
    • Pale skin rash.
    • Local skin numbness.
  • Symptoms of multibacillary Hansen’s disease:
    • Symmetric skin lesions.
    • Nodules.
    • Plaques.
    • Thickened dermis.
    • Nasal mucous lesions.
    • Nasal congestion.
    • Epistaxis.
    • muscle weakness.

What is the treatment done for Leprosy?

Some treatment used are-

1. Wild herbs- Tilli Oil.

2. Rubbing with the cloth of mama (maternal uncle).

3. Visit sacred places of gods- Kunwarji in Sheopur- two visits are needed for full cure.

4. Take bath in Stream at Sakalpur on the day of   Chaudas.

5. Long-term medical treatment to control the leprosy infection should begin as early as possible.

6. Emergency treatment when necessary to control and prevent further damage from leprosy reactions.

7. Safety measures, aids, exercises, and education to prevent deformities (sores, burns, injuries, contractures).

8. Social rehabilitation: Work with the individual, the parents, the schools, and the community to create a better understanding of leprosy, to lessen people’s fears, and to increase acceptance, so that the child or adult with leprosy can lead a full, happy, meaningful life.