Leprosy: A Preventable Disease

The Burden of Leprosy

Leprosy is a chronic infectious disease caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium leprae. It primarily affects the skin, nerves, and mucous membranes, and can lead to severe disability and disfigurement if left untreated.

Causes and Transmission

Leprosy is spread through close contact with an infected person, typically through respiratory droplets or skin-to-skin contact. The bacterium enters the body through cuts or abrasions in the skin and can incubate for months or even years before symptoms appear.


Leprosy has various forms, each with its own set of symptoms. The most common type is paucibacillary leprosy, which affects a few skin patches and nerves. Multibacillary leprosy, a more severe form, involves multiple skin lesions, nerve damage, and damage to internal organs.

Prevention and Treatment

Leprosy is preventable through early detection and treatment. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a single dose of multidrug therapy (MDT) for paucibacillary leprosy and a longer course of MDT for multibacillary leprosy.

Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent disability and disfigurement. Leprosy patients should receive regular monitoring and support to prevent complications and ensure their well-being.

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