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 has two common forms: tuberculoid and lepromatous. Both forms produce sores on the skin. However, the lepromatous form is most severe. It causes large lumps and bumps
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. Most countries that were previously highly endemic for leprosy have achieved elimination at the national level and are intensifying their efforts at regional and district levels. During 2007, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Mozambique reached elimination at the national level, and were joined by Timor-Leste by the end of 2010. However, pockets of high endemicity still remain in some foci in Angola, Brazil, the Central African Republic, India, Madagascar, Nepal and the United Republic of Tanzania and in previously highly endemic countries, such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Mozambique. These countries remain highly committed to eliminating the disease, and continue to intensify their leprosy control activities.
Today, the diagnosis and treatment of leprosy is easy and most endemic countries are striving to fully integrate leprosy services into existing general health services. This is especially important for those under-served and marginalised communities most at risk from leprosy, often the poorest of the poor.
(1) People with leprosy are not supposed to be stigmatized.
(2) Should be provided with a great care.
(3) Should be treated.