Leprosy or Hansen’s Disease, is a disease that affects primarily the skin and nerves. It was discovered in 1874 by a Norwegian physician Gerhard Henrik Armauer Hansen.The disease was thought to have started somewhere in India and then was past on to Africa and Europe. In the late 1800’s leprosy was very common throughout Europe.
It became less and less through Europe and spread to areas of Africa that had bad nutrition and unhealthy living environments. Today the disease is not very common. Worldwide it is estimated that only five percent of the population is susceptible. There are not many cases of leprosy reported each year. Scientists are now able to grow the bacteria in test tubes. The normal form of leprosy seen in most cases is called dimorphous. This form is what a person first gets, but when the body can’t fight it turns into lepromatous. This formattacks nerves, the skin, the mucous membranes, and the eyes.In most cases it is easy to detect the disease. At first many people will loose a sense of feeling in a patch of skin. Then after the loss of feeling in certain area the muscles may become paralyzed due to the damage of the nervous system. Many times since people loose feeling in certain areas of their body, injuries occur to them that are unnoticed and become infected. After the disease has settled into ones body it starts to eat away at thebones causing people to loose parts of their body. All of these signs can be prevented with early detection.In the past chaulmoogra oil was used, thinking that it would make a good
treatment for leprosy. In today’s world there are many drugs that are used to prevent it.The drugs are the best way to stop it from spreading. Another way is to watch that youget good nutrition.Doctors have made many great advancements in the fight against leprosy. In today’s world if caught early it can be treated. In the past few years doctors have been working on a leprosy vaccine that would hopefully one day get rid of the disease.