When the disease Leprosy is mentioned most people think of the biblical sense of Jesus healing the lepers and such. When I hear the word I immediately think of a song sung by Dr. Dirty John Valby that is sung to the tune of The Beatles Yesterday. It’s a funny and somewhat perverse song, but Leprosy is not really something to laugh about.
First off, let’s answer the question of “What Is Leprosy?”
Leprosy is a disease caused by the Mycobacterium leprae bacteria. This bacterium affects the body’s nervous system, concentrating on the cooler parts of the body. Affected areas are skin, eyes, and muscles in the hands and feet.
MSN Health reports that more cases are popping up in the United States every year. There is no epidemic or cause for alarm but everyone needs to be aware. The spread of the disease is still not well known and there is no vaccination for the bacteria. Treatments for the bacteria are available and best if caught in the early stages. Advanced stages may take longer for the victim to recover.
Antibiotics can kill the bacteria, but Krahenbuhl and Scollard stressed that treatment should begin as soon as possible to minimize nerve damage.
“Ultimately it is a disease of the peripheral nerves,” Krahenbuhl said. “The earlier you treat, the more likely you are to arrest and block it.
Leprosy is not some vile and sick, possibly sexually transmitted disease as most think of it. Although 95% of people may be naturally immune to the bacteria, it is still important to be aware of the disease and to seek medical attention if you discover lesions on your skin. Better safe than sorry.