In 2014, World Health Organization (WHO) revealed official data stating121 countries reported 213,899 new cases of leprosy. Approximately100 cases are reported every year with Leprosy in the U.S. In 2014 CDC i.e. Center for Disease Control and Prevention released data on Leprosy, which stated that there were 175 new cases are reported with the condition in U.S. Though some people consider this disease is limited to underdeveloped nations, U.S people are also infected with condition. American people need to be aware of this condition.
Leprosy is an infection caused by bacteria and it is also known as Hansen’s Disease. This name is given after the name of scientist Dr. Gerhard Henrik Armauer Hansen, who has discovered the infectious disease in 1873. The infection affects nerves, skin, eyes and nasal mucosa. The infected areas might lose sensation to touch or realize pain and it usually changes colors like lighter-darker, dry-flaky, or reddish. Forms of the Leprosy can be defined according to the number and type of skin sores. Tuberculoid is a mild and less contagious than other forms of leprosy, in which few patches of flat or pale colored skin with numbness is observed. Lepromatous, contagious than Tuberculoid, can affect male reproductive organ, kidneys, and nose that shows skin bumps or rashes. In Borderline form of leprosy shows both Lepromatous and Tuberculoid symptoms.
Causes of Leprosy
Leprosy is mainly caused due to bacterial infection. The infectious bacteria named Mycobacterium leprae have mild growth and, it takes about 20 years to develop signs of infections in the body. Not everyone infected with M. leprae bacteria will develop leprosy. The infection completely depends on your immune system. Along with humans other animals such as armadillos, chimpanzees, & mangabey monkeys, and macaques are the host for infectious bacteria Mycobacteriumleprae.
Note: Leprosy can be transmitted through nasal droplets or long term contact with the infected person.
Diagnosis of Leprosy
Leprosy can be diagnosed on the basis of your abnormal skin patterns, nodules appeared on the skin, patches, and skin sores.
- Biopsy: Small sample of the skin tested in the lab for Leprosy
- Skin Smear Test: This test detects the bacteria in the skin
Symptoms of Leprosy
Usually symptoms are observed around the skin, nerves, and mucous membranes.
Skin affected symptoms are as mentioned below:
Colorless lesion on the chest, colorless patches of skin, lighter than skin around, nodules on the skin, thick, stiff or dry skin, painless swelling or lumps on the face or earlobes, loss of eyebrows or eyelashes, painless ulcers on the soles of feet.
Nerve affected symptoms as mentioned below:
Numbness of affected areas of the skin, muscle weakness or paralysis, enlarged nerves, eye problems that leads to blindness, enlarged nerves below the skin and dark reddish skin patch overlying the nerves affected by the bacteria on the chest, and enlarged nerves below the skin and dark reddish skin patch overlying the nerves.
Mucous membranes affected symptoms are as mentioned below: stuffy nose, nosebleeds, loss of feeling or sensation, and injuries such as burns.
Other common symptoms can be observed are mentioned below:
Paralysis and crippling of hands and feet, shortening of toes and fingers due to re-absorption,
chronic non-healing ulcers on the bottoms of the feet, blindness, loss of eyebrows, nose disfigurement,
painful or tender nerves, redness and pain around the affected area, and burning sensation in the skin.
Treatment for Leprosy
Azulfidine EN-tabs is a popular brand medicine used in the treatment of Leprosy. Sulfasalazine is an active ingredient used in this medicine. Pfizer is a well-known company in the pharmaceutical industry that offers this medication. This drug is approved to treat a certain type of bowel disease called ulcerative colitis. The medication does not cure it, but it helps reduce symptoms like fever, stomach pain, diarrhea, and rectal bleeding.
The given active ingredient is used in a medicine Azulfidine that treats control Leprosy. Pharmacia & Upjohn is a trusted pharmaceutical company manufactures this medicine. It is an anti-inflammatory drug that affects the immune system and decreases inflammation.