Leprosy Hansen’s Disease is a chronic infectious disease caused by the Mycobacterium leprae bacteria. It is a slow developing disease, sometimes many years go by before any of its symptoms materialize.
- nasal mucosa
- peripheral nerves
- upper respiratory tract
Mycobacterium leprae’s slow multiplication and inability to survive outside its host, makes this bacteria difficult to study. What is known about Hansen’s disease is it is not very contagious despite the unclear means of leprosy’s actual transmission.
These leprosy signs and symptoms may take years to emerge:
- raised rashes
- muscle weakness
- swollen lymph nodes
- non healing skin sores
- footdrop & claw fingers
- swollen, red, painful bumps
- chronic stuffy nose & nosebleeds
- hands, arms, feet, legs numbness
- lighter skin areas ~ flat, whitish rash
- men ~ erectile dysfunction & infertility
- eyes ~ may cause glaucoma, blindness
- lost sense of touch, heat, pain in peripheral nerves
Because of leprosy’s long incubation period, it is more difficult to pin down when this disease was contracted. And children are more susceptible than adults.
Hansen’s disease eventually causes permanent peripheral nerve damage. However, antibiotics are available to kill the Mycobacterium leprae causing leprosy bacteria. Aspirin, prednisone or thalidomide may be used to control your inflammation.
That’s right, “leper colonies” are history.