World Leprosy Eradication Day is observed every year on last Sunday of January.The aim of the day is to create awareness about leprosy, to help people living with the disease and to educate other people who take care of people suffering from this disease. This is the day when people around the world stand in support of those is suffering from the disease and raise funds for helping out people living with leprosy.
Leprosy is a chronic infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae which results in severe disfiguring skin sores and nerve damage in the arms and legs. It is also known as Hansen’s disease (named after Dr. Armauer Hansen, who discovered the bacteria). The disease has been around since ancient times, often surrounded by terrifying, negative stigmas and tales of leprosy patients being treated as outcasts. However, the good news is that leprosy is curable and treated by the Multi-Drug Therapy (MDT).
Frequently Asked Questions
What causes leprosy?
A germ, or bacteria, called Mycobacterium leprae causes an infection that affects the skin, destroys nerves and can also cause problems in the eyes and nose.
What are the damages caused by leprosy?
Leprosy can damage the peripheral nerves and nerves in the skin. This results in the following problems:
Can leprosy be spread by touching someone who is affected?
No, leprosy cannot be spread by touching someone. Long-term exposure to poor sanitary conditions may contribute to leprosy. Mycobacterium leprae is transmitted primarily through coughing and sneezing. It is also not transmitted through sexual contact or pregnancy.
Does everyone who suffers from leprosy become disfigured?
Leprosy does not necessarily result in deformities. If the disease is treated at an early stage, patients will have no visible signs of the disease beyond some skin patches.
Should an affected person be isolated from the workplace?
Many leprosy-affected persons are able to continue with work and actively contribute to their communities.
What are the signs of leprosy?
How is leprosy treated?
Leprosy can be treated effectively with Multi-Drug Therapy (MDT) as recommended by the WHO.
Why Multi-Drug Therapy (MDT)?
MDT is most effective treatment for leprosy. When patients begin taking Multi-Drug Therapy (MDT) at an early stage, the bacteria are killed quite rapidly and the disease is arrested.
What happens to pregnant women who have leprosy?
Most women with leprosy have normal pregnancies and deliver healthy babies. Patients under treatment do not transmit leprosy to their babies.