Leprosy is a chronic, progressive bacterial infection caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium leprae. It primarily affects the nerves of the extremities, the skin, the lining of the nose, and the upper respiratory tract. Leprosy is also known as Hansen’s disease.
Leprosy produces skin ulcers, nerve damage, and muscle weakness. If it isn’t treated, it can cause severe disfigurement and significant disability.
Leprosy is one of the oldest diseases in recorded history. The first known written reference to leprosy is from around 600 B.C.
Do fingers and toes fall off when someone gets leprosy?
The bacteria attack nerve endings and destroy the body’s ability to feel pain and injury. Without feeling pain, people injure themselves and the injuries can become infected, resulting in tissue loss. Fingers and toes become shortened and deformed as the cartilage is absorbed into the body. Repeated injury and infection of numb areas in the fingers or toes can cause the bones to shorten. The tissues around them shrink, making them short.
How do you catch leprosy?
leprae is transmitted primarily through coughing and sneezing. In most cases, it is spread through long-term contact with a person who has the disease but has not been treated. Scientists don’t fully understand how leprosy is spread.
What side effects do the medications have?
Some people may have a mild anemia. Very rarely, other blood problems have been reported. Rifampin: Sometimes it will cause abnormal liver tests, but the problem clears when the medication is stopped. It may cause a harmless orange color in the urine, sweat or tears. Clofazimine: It has virtually no side effects except some darkening of the skin which slowly fades when the medication is stopped.