Leprosy

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by ChrisM016
Last updated 5 years ago

Discipline:
Health & Fitness
Subject:
Health
Grade:
9

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Leprosy

•Muscle weakness•No feeling in the hands, arms, feet and legs•Skin lesions thatDo not go away after several weeks or monthsLighter skin colour than normalGrowths on the skin•Stiff, thick or dry skin•Blindness•Nose bleeds•Nerve damage

Leprosy

HistoryLeprosy was believed to be discovered around 1550BC in Egypt. Leprosy was first recorded in Europe in ancient Greek times after the army of Alexander the Great returned from India and then in Rome in 62bc. When Leprosy was recorded throughout the middle ages it was first thought it was a hereditary disease also a curse or a punishment from God. In 1873 Dr Gerhard Henrik Armauer Hansen was the first person look at the germ that causes leprosy under a microscope.

Symptoms

Diagnosis

Types of Leprosy

Infecting Agent

HistoryNot until the 1940s, the doctors who treated leprosy from around the world treated patients by injecting them with the oil from the chaulmoogra nut. This treatment was actually very painful. Promin was introduced in 1941 as a treatment for leprosy. Promin did treat leprosy successfully but this treatment also required many very painful injections. In the 1950s the dapsone pill became the treatment of choice from people suffering with leprosy but Mycobacterium leprae eventually started to become resistant. In the 1970s the multidrug treatment was created and is now still the treatment for leprosy.

Mycobacterium leprae which is a bacillus (rod shaped) bacterium (see fig 1). Mycobacterium leprae mainly affects the skin, the peripheral nerves, mucosa of the respiratory tract and it can also affect the eyes. Leprosy infects humans and other animals like mice, rabbits and armadillos. Mycobacterium leprae is a slow growing pathogen that must have a host to survive. Mycobacterium leprae also has a long incubation period can take to 5-20 years. Infectious disease: Spread by a vector carrying the disease or drinking or eating contaminated food or water carrying the disease.Contagious: Spread through direct contact e.g. coughing sneezing or using the same cup as an infected person with the disease.Leprosy is a slightly contagious disease. Leprosy is believed to be spread by fluid from the nose or someone who is infected with leprosy coughs.

Fig 1. Mycobacterium leprae

There are two types of leprosy tuberculoid and lepromatous. Tuberculoid is also known as paucibacillary leprosy which is a less severe type of leprosy. Individuals with Tuberculoid have only a few patches of flat, pale coloured skin (see fig.2). The infected skin may feel numb because of nerve damage. Lepromatous is also known as multibacillary leprosy which is the most severe type of leprosy. It has skin bumps, rashes, numbness and muscle weakness (see fig.3/4). Nose, kidneys and male reproductive organs can also be affected. Lepromatous is more contagious then tuberculoid.

Fig 3. Lepromatous Leprosy

Fig 2. tuberculoid Leprosy

Leprosy is diagnosed by a doctor. Your doctor will remove some of the infected skin and send it away to be examined. The examination is called a skin biopsy. A skin smear test might also be done. People with lepromatous leprosy would have bacteria growing on the skin smear test. Leprosy can also be diagnosed by just seeing the sign and symptoms of the patient, the doctor might prick you with a pin on one of the skin lesions to see if there is any feeling around that area.

Prevention

Leprosy can be prevented by staying away from people who are infected with leprosy and are not being treated. If you are living with a person with leprosy you should see your doctor and be examined to make sure you do not have leprosy.

Treatment

Leprosy can be prevented by staying away from people who are infected with leprosy and are not being treated. If you are living with a person with leprosy you should see your doctor and be examined to make sure you do not have leprosy.

Leprosy can be prevented by staying away from people who are infected with leprosy and are not being treated. If you are living with a person with leprosy you should see your doctor and be examined to make sure you do not have leprosy.


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