Welcome back my fellow learners, today we are going to talk about an ancient disease which surprisingly is still around even today.
Leprosy is a highly infectious disease which causes severe disfiguring sores, in addition to damage to nerves, arms and legs. This disease has been around for decades, often surrounded by negative stigmas and tales of people getting shunned as outcasts. Outbreaks of leprosy have been heard about on every continent. The oldest civilizations in China, Egypt, and India greatly fear leprosy as an incurable, mutilating, and highly contagious disease.
But, contrary to popular belief, leprosy is not actually that contagious. You will only catch it if you come into close and regular contact with nose and mouth droplets by an individual that has untreated leprosy. Children are more likely to get this over adults.
Even today, approximately 180,000 people around the world have leprosy, states the World Health Organization, an mostly within Africa and Asia. Around 200 people are diagnosed within the U.S. yearly, mostly in California, Hawaii.
What is the Cause of Leprosy?
Leprosy is created by a type of bacteria known as Mycobacterium leprae. It is also referred to as Hansen's disease, after the scientist who first discovered it in 1873.
Leprosy mainly affects the skin and nerves outside the brain and spinal cord. It can also hit the eyes and tissue on the inside of the nose.
The main symptom is disfiguring sores, lumps, and bumps which will not go away even after many weeks or months. These are pale in color.