facts about leprosy

13 Life Changing Facts about Leprosy

Leprosy, or Hansen’s Disease, is a debilitating disease that can cause disfigurement and respiratory disorders. As a disease, it is treatable, but some symptoms cause permanent disfigurement. Many people live with the condition – and it’s important to learn more about how it affects people. Here are some interesting facts about leprosy you may wish to remember.

1. Where did leprosy originate?

It is widely accepted that leprosy originated either in Africa or America as long as 500 years ago! However, it has had worldwide consequences and reached the far corners of the globe.

2. Skeletons in India point to a potential source.

In 1997, a skeleton provided remarkable data consuming that a 4,000-year-old specimen was discovered with evidence of leprosy in Rajasthan! This is one of the oldest findings that we have of the disease.

3. What are some of the effects of leprosy?

There are several emotional and physical effects of leprosy. These include nerve damage which may affect the eyes and respiratory tracts of sufferers.

facts about leprosy

4. leprosy isn’t necessarily fatal.

If discovered and treated in time, leprosy no longer needs to be fatal. Though historically, leprosy was attributed to diminishing populations, and some people were outcast due to having the disease, these days, it can be contained and treated.

5. There’s a vaccine for leprosy.

The vaccine BGC, full name Bacillus Calmette Guerin, is used to treat and control leprosy. This vaccine has helped to save countless lives over the years!

6. What causes leprosy?

Leprosy is caused by the bacteria known as Mycobacterium Leprae. Sadly, it can act pretty quickly – meaning treatment and diagnosis are normally fairly swift.


7. Much of the world is resistant against the disease.

Whilst leprosy affects swathes of the global population, it is believed that approximately 95% of the globe has some natural resistance to the disease. Now that is lucky!

8. When was leprosy first treated in the US?

Records show that Dr Guy Henry Faget undertook research into the symptoms of the disease and researched how best to treat them. He’s considered a pivotal name in the history of treating the condition.

9. leprosy can affect many different animals.

Aside from humans, monkeys, armadillos, cats, and dogs have all succumbed to leprosy! Sadly, this disease can devastate far more than us humans.

facts about leprosy

10. leprosy affects people on the outside, too.

​​Aside from the other symptoms of leprosy, longer-term disfigurement can cause embarrassment for its sufferers. Many years ago, some people were outcast from communities and even family relationships.

11. What are some of the main symptoms of leprosy?

leprosy is commonly diagnosed through weakness in the muscles as well as some paralysis in the extremities. Many people with leprosy may also suffer from eye problems, which can cause blindness if left untreated. Some sufferers of leprosy will also likely struggle with enlarged nerves.

facts about leprosy 2 scaled

Testing for sensation loss

12. Can antibiotics cure leprosy?

To some extent, yes, antibiotics can help to cure people with leprosy. Unfortunately, any disabilities caused by the condition are already likely to be permanent.

13. The body can’t fight leprosy on its own.

Most of the time, the human body isn’t able to fight leprosy without medication. Therefore, antibiotics are typically recommended to help thwart the condition. Nerves damaged by leprosy won’t heal on their own.

facts about leprosy

FAQs about Leprosy

What are other names for leprosy?

Leprosy was also known as the Black Death. Today, it is also commonly known as Hansen’s disease.

How do people get leprosy?

The bacteria, Mycobacterium Leprae, is most commonly transmitted from droplets from the mouth and nose. This is the same for the various animals that can be affected by leprosy!

Does leprosy still exist?

Yes, leprosy does still exist! Today, cases are rare and relatively easy to treat. However, they are still present, and it’s important to be careful!

Further reading:
Do you know any interesting facts about leprosy? Share them in the comments below!

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This page was last modified on July 28, 2023. Suggest an edit

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