Leprosy Disease

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Leprosy, also called Hansen’s disease, is one of the first microbiology diseases that cropped up in the 1940’s. People living in poverty had and still have a high probability of suffering from leprosy. During the 1940’s, leprosy was an incurable disease.

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Leprosy is caused by an infective agent known as Mycobacterium leprae. The causative agent, Mycobacterium leprae, causes a long-term infection in people suffering from leprosy. The infective agent can be transmitted from one host to another through contact with fluid from the nostrils of an infected patient or through a cough. However, leprosy is not very communicable (1). The signs and symptoms of leprosy include granulomas of the skin, nerves, eyes, and the respiratory tract and poor eyesight. These signs and symptoms make an infected person to be numb to pain. Infected people may sometimes not be aware of wounds on their skin due to their numbness. Treatment for leprosy is done through the multidrug therapy. Lymphocyte transformation, radioimmunoassay, immunogel diffusion, fluorescent antibody absorption tests are used to detect the Mycobacterium leprae during treatment. Leprosy control programs are being used to prevent the spread of leprosy (1).


Leprosy, also referred to as Hansen’s disease, is a mycobacterial infection that affects the skin, eyes, testes, peripheral nerves, bones, and mucous membranes. Leprosy affects about 1.15 million people, of both sexes and all ages, in areas that are poverty stricken. Poverty stricken regions that have been hit hard with leprosy include Nigeria, India, Indonesia, Brazil, and Myanmar (4). These regions have the highest number of leprosy cases. Also, the probability of being infected with leprosy is higher in these particular regions. In today’s modern world, the name leprosy has been replaced with the Hansen’s disease. This is because leprosy is connected with the Biblical leprosy, thereby making the leprosy patients to be discriminated. To avoid discrimination or harsh treatment, the Western hemisphere refers to leprosy as the Hansen’s disease (1). The Hansen’s disease is caused by an infective or causative agent known as Mycobacterium leprae (3). Mycobacterium leprae is an intercellular bacillus that gradually grows and enters the peripheral never, eyes, bones, mucous membranes, and testes. This causative agent for leprosy is related to the causative agent of Tuberculosis. The incubation of Mycobacterium leprae is between two to ten years or twenty years sometimes. This means that the period between infection and emergence of leprosy is two to ten or twenty years (4). Human beings infected with leprosy, primary reservoirs of Mycobacterium leprae, may transmit the infection to other hosts through various routs of transmission like skin to skin and airborne routes of transmission. Skin to skin transmission is the main route of transmission in leprosy.

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