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Jan 23, 2022

Leprosy is an age-old disease which is also known as Hansen's disease.  Leprosy was feared to be highly contagious at its peak but may today believe this disease is dormant or extinct but last year alone 127558 new cases were recorded worldwide.

Leprosy has five types:

  1. Tuberculoid leprosy 
    The skin has a few abnormal changes. Of those changes, some are larger and numb. A mild nerve involvement. Its disease response may lead to its healing on its own, persisting or becoming more severe. 
  2. Borderline tuberculoid leprosy 
    It’s like tuberculoid leprosy but with a bit more changes and nerve involvement.  Its disease response may lead to its healing on its own, persisting or mutating into another form of Leprosy.
  3. Mid-borderline leprosy   
    The changes in the skin are reddish, the numbness isn’t as severe as the other types of leprosy, but it does swell up your lymph nodes. Its disease response may lead to it healing on its own, persisting or mutating into another form of Leprosy.
  4. Borderline lepromatous leprosy
    There are a lot of changes to the skin both flat and lumpy, creating abnormal tissue in the infected areas. There is a lot more numbness.  Its disease response may lead to it healing on its own, persisting or becoming more severe.
  5. Lepromatous leprosy
    The damaged skin is infected with bacteria and there is severe nerve involvement. This type of leprosy involves loss of hair, weakening of arms and legs, and disfigurement. 

Here are the main symptoms of Leprosy:

  • Patches of skin that deviate in shade from the host’s original skin color.
  • The patches are usually numb to light touch or the prick of a needle.
  • Numb ulcers on the bottom of your feet.
  • Eyebrow and eyelash loss.
  • Nosebleeds and severe pain
  • Weak muscles or muscle paralysis

Leprosy is usually treated with a mixture of antibiotics prescribed by a medical practitioner. The treatment usually runs a duration of one to two years. Leprosy can be cured if you run the full course of the treatment. 

Should you neglect to treat leprosy it could lead to nerve damage and paralysis in your hands and feet.

The best way to prevent Leprosy is early diagnosis. Other methods of prevention are:

  • BCG infant vaccinations in endemic regions.
  • Early Diagnosis and treatment.
  • If you have contacted someone with leprosy, get chemoprophylaxis.

Use the Bestmed app to find a healthcare practitioner near you.

Should you show any symptoms that you might have Leprosy, you should use the Bestmed app to find a doctor or clinic near you. 

Visit a Dis-Chem, Clicks, Van Heerden, Alpha Pharm, or Sparkport Pharmacy near you to get your prescription medication.

References
CDC, 2017. Hansen's Disease. [Online] 
Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/leprosy/treatment/index.html
Donohue, M., 2019. Leprosy Types. [Online] 
Available at: https://www.healthline.com/health/leprosy
World Health Organization, 2022. Leprosy. [Online] 
Available at: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/leprosy

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