Leprosy, a much feared and stigmatized scourge in history, affects a tiny number of Americans, but Congress’s decision to make a modest cut to its annual budget for care and research will have an outsize negative impact, leaders in the field warn.
About 3300 people in the United States need care for leprosy, also known as Hansen disease, which can damage nerves and the eyes, discolor skin, and cause disfigurement if untreated. Although antibiotics can clear the infection with Mycobacterium leprae, the causative bacterium, U.S. clinicians often have difficulty diagnosing this rare and confusing disease.
While we've largely forgotten about the disease here in the United States, where there are an estimated 5,000 people living with it, leprosy affects at least 15 million around the world.
Leprosy, an age old disease closely associated with biblical times, has not gone away.
Leprosy continues to be a challenge to health worldwide, with about 250 000 new cases being detected every year. Despite widespread implementation of effective multidrug therapy, leprosy has not been eliminated.
Leprosy is best understood as two conjoined diseases. The first is a chronic mycobacterial infection that elicits an extraordinary range of cellular immune responses in humans. The second is a peripheral neuropathy that is initiated by the infection and the accompanying immunological events. The infection is curable but not preventable, and leprosy remains a major global health problem, especially in the developing world, publicity to the contrary notwithstanding.
Kalaupapa, Hawaii, is a former leprosy colony that’s still home to several of the people who were exiled there through the 1960s. Once they all pass away, the federal government wants to open up the isolated peninsula to tourism. But at what cost?
Mystery and misconceptions continue to surround the biblical scourge contracted by at least 250,000 people each year.
It’s thus only natural that many might think the disease is a relic of the past. My recent studies in a Brazilian state where the disease is prevalent shows that leprosy is closer to us than we might think, however. The disease is growing in armadillos. And while these animals are not exactly the cuddly type to which humans are drawn, armadillo-to-human contact is spreading. And, when the species do interact, armadillos are giving leprosy back.
The worldwide movement to eliminate leprosy has been enjoying considerable success since MDT was endorsed by the WHO in 1981. The Nippon Foundation has been instrumental in this success, to the point that in 2001 WHO asked Yohei Sasakawa, our chairman, to be its Goodwill Ambassador for Leprosy Elimination.
Leprosy is one of the oldest diseases known to humankind. Once dreaded as contagious, disfiguring and without cure, today it is easily treated with antibiotics.
The Global Partnership for Zero Leprosy is a coalition of groups committed to ending leprosy, also known as Hansen’s disease
There are currently three blogs on the database, offering perspectives on leprosy history, introductions to collections and archives, and recent developments in the field of history and heritage.
ILEP is a consortium of international non-governmental organisations with a shared desire to see a world free from leprosy, and an acknowledgment that none of us can achieve this on our own.
The International Leprosy Association, founded in 1931, is a Professional Society of physicians, scientists, and individuals and organizations in related areas, working to understand and relieve the problems associated with leprosy. From its inception, the primary goal of the ILA has been to provide up-to-date, medically and scientifically accurate information about this disease to all professionals who desire such knowledge.
LEPRA is a non-governmental organisation that promotes quality health care, initiates and fosters new developments and implementation.
Our history dates back to 1925, when the British Empire Leprosy Relief Association (BELRA) started leprosy work in India. LEPRA was established in Hyderabad in 1989, as a partner of Lepra UK, to serve the needs of people affected by leprosy.
American Leprosy Missions is a global organization serving Christ by curing and caring for people suffering from leprosy, and by working to end this ancient disease in our time.
Hansen’s disease (also known as leprosy) is an infection caused by slow-growing bacteria called Mycobacterium leprae. It can affect the nerves, skin, eyes, and lining of the nose (nasal mucosa). With early diagnosis and treatment, the disease can be cured. People with Hansen’s disease can continue to work and lead an active life during and after treatment.
Leprosy News is an EIN News Service for health professionals. Constantly updated news and information about health.
Leprosy is common in many countries worldwide, and in temperate, tropical, and subtropical climates. About 100 cases per year are diagnosed in the United States. Most cases are in the South, California, Hawaii, and U.S. islands.
Leprosy is caused by a slow-growing bacillus, Mycobacterium leprae. It is transmitted via droplets from the nose and mouth of untreated patients with severe disease, but is not highly infectious. If left untreated, the disease can cause nerve damage, leading to muscle weakness and atrophy, and permanent disabilities.
Leprosy can be easily treated with a 6—12-month course of multidrug therapy. The treatment is highly effective, and has few side-effects and low relapse rates; there is no known drug resistance.