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Hansen's disease commonly called as leprosy

Hansen’s disease commonly called as leprosy

Leprosy is caused due to bacterial infection caused due to Mycobacterium leprae and Mycobacterium lepromotasis. Leprosy got its name as Hansen’s disease after the physician Gerhard Armauer Hansen who discovered the bacteria.

what is leprosy

Leprosy is primarily granulomatous disease of the peripheral nerves and mucosa of respiratory tract. Leprosy is spread between people. This is believed to occur through a cough or contact with fluid from the nose of an infected person. It occurs more commonly among those living in poverty and is believed to be transmitted by respiratory droplets.It is not very contagious.

Leprosy Symptoms

  • Initially, infection is without symptoms and typically remains latent for 5 to as long as 20 years
  • Weakness and poor eyesight
  • Skin lesions (light or dark patches) are the primary external sign
  • If untreated, leprosy can progress and cause permanent damage to the skin, nerves, limbs, and eyes.
  • Leprosy does not cause body parts to fall off, although they can become numb or diseased as a result of secondary infections, these occur as a result of the body’s defenses being compromised by the primary disease
  • Secondary infections, in turn, can result in tissue loss causing fingers and toes to become shortened and deformed, as cartilage is absorbed into the bodyHansen's disease commonly called as leprosy

leprosy,  leprosy symptoms, types of leprosy

The two main types of disease are based on the number of bacteria present: paucibacillary and multibacillary.The two types are differentiated by the number of poorly pigmented, numb skin patches present, with paucibacillary having five or fewer and multibacillary having more than five.


The diagnosis is confirmed by finding acid-fast bacilli in a biopsy of the skin

Detecting the DNA by polymerase chain reaction


Leprosy is curable with treatment.Hansen's disease commonly called as leprosy

Treatment for paucibacillary leprosy is with the medications dapsone and rifampicin for 6 months.

Treatment for multibacillary leprosy consists of rifampicin, dapsone, and clofazimine for 12 months. A number of other antibiotics may also be used.

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