Leprosy (also known as Hansen’s disease) is the consequence of a bacterial infection caused b Mycobacterium leprae. It originated in Eastern Africa and spread by human migration over 500 years ago. The development of this infection can take up to 20 years. until that point an infected individual will show no signs of disease.
In general, leprosy affects nerves, skin, eyes and nose. The affected areas lose their sense of touch and the ability of feeling pain. Over time, the accumulation of cuts, burns and general damage causes more severe conditions.
Early signs & symptoms
As we mention, the time period between infection and the manifestation of early signs of leprosy can be very long. When they manifest, the first things to appear are skin lesions accompanied with sensory loss .
● Discolored patches of skin, usually flat, that may be numb and look faded (lighter than the skin around)
● Growths (nodules) on the skin
● Thick, stiff or dry skin
● Painless ulcers on the soles of feet
● Painless swelling or lumps on the face or earlobes
● Loss of eyebrows or eyelashes
● Numbness of affected areas of the skin
● Muscle weakness or paralysis (especially in the hands and feet)
● Enlarged nerves (especially those around the elbow and knee and in the sides of the neck)
● Eye problems that may lead to blindness (when facial nerves are affected)
● A stuffy nose
The scientific and medical community are still developing new treatment options for patients. However, traditionally, doctors recommend a multidrug therapy that uses at least 2 of the 3 following drugs: