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The Research Paper on Leprosy

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The research paper on Leprosy

Leprosy, since 600 BCE, was one of the most feared diseases of the Middle Ages, affecting humanity for over nearly 4,000 years. Leprosy was commonly found in third world countries, which generated 70% of reported cases, and then migrated to North America and to all of Western Europe. The signs and symptoms appear to be subtle, manifesting very slowly, and almost undetectable for years. People who were known to be infected by this disease were quarantined, and received treatment in isolated facilities. The lack of knowledge of this infectious disease resulted in many cases of cosmetic disfiguration.

What is Leprosy?

Leprosy also known as Hansen's disease, because it was first identified in 1874 by a

Norwegian physician named Gerhard Henrik Armeur Hansen under a microscope, is a chronic- illness that mainly affects the skin, mucous membranes, and peripheral nerves. The cause of the virus is a rod shaped acid fast bacillus called Mycobacterium leprae, an obligate intracellular (which is known to only grow inside certain humans and animals, for example, chimpanzees, and nine banded armadillos). This type of bacterium takes about 12-14 days to reproduce inside the cells, a considerably amount of time, as opposed to minutes or hours like most bacterium. The bacterium will mostly be located in the coolest areas of the body, with temperatures in the ranges of 80.9F - 86F, for example, hands, feet, face, and knees. Leprosy can take place at any age, but it is extremely rare to be diagnosed before the age of 1. However, almost 20% of leprosy cases come about before the age of 10 years old. Typically children are affected more than adults.

Signs and Symptoms

Generally there are minimal to no signs or symptoms in the early stages of Leprosy. The severity of the disease is not detected until after it has multiplied within the body for three to five years. This is called "Leprosy incubation period." The first sign maybe numbness or lost of sensation in your extremities, causing you to be unable to feel hot and cold temperatures. This is a result of the bacillus attacking and damaging the nerve endings. Next, the skin develops lesions that are discoloured; hypopigmented macules (Flat areas of the skin appearing lighter than your original complexion), painless ulcers that do not heal for several weeks to months at a time and eye damage occurs from the lack of blinking. Finally, digits become shortened and deformed as the bone is absorbed into the body.

Different Types

Leprosy has two main types; tuberculoid and lepromatous. The forms are based upon how the person's body reacts to the mycobacterium leprae once in the immune system. In fact, tuberculoid leprosy, also known as paucibacillary leprosy, is a mild form of the disease. The affects on the skin are few light faint rashes like lesions located either on the trunk



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