What is Leeprosy? Essay

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What is Leprosy? Leprosy, known since biblical times, also called Hansen’s disease, is a chronic infectious disease that affects the peripheral nerves, skin, upper respiratory tract, eyes and nasal mucosa. It causes skin sores that are disfiguring, nerve damage and muscle weakness that gets worse over time. Caused by the Bacterium; Mycobacterium leprae, was discovered by G.A. Hansen in Norway in 1873. There are 2 types of leprosy: tuberculoid leprosy and lepromatous leprosy. Tuberculoid leprosy is the less severe and less contagious. Lepromatous leprosy is the more severe and is more contagious. This type affects the organs such as kidneys, testicles, eyes and nose. Leprosy is difficult to study, Mycobacterium Leprae multiplies …show more content…
At first it was much like a prison, where the leper’s were sent for isolation. The patient’s identities were under false names and hometowns for fear of the shame would bring on their families. Leper colonies existed in Hawaii in the mid-19th century, exiled to the Kalaupapa Peninsula. Isolation of these lepers’s remained until 1969 when the quarantine policy was lifted because the disease was discovered treatable at outpatient facilities. The stigma was so deep rooted that many of the leper’s stayed in the quarantined area. Leper colonies still exist today, in 2001 a colony in Japan, was cited for mistreatment of the sufferers, after the disease was found not to be highly contagious, continued to quarantine the lepers until 1996. In 1907, the Leprosy Prevention Law forced affected people onto the island off of Japan. The Japanese government kept the lepers on the island as well as forcibly aborted babies when those affected with the disease became pregnant. An estimate of over 3,500 abortions was carried out, even though leprosy is not genetic. June 2001, the Japanese government had a court ruling that ordered it to pay $15 million to 127 plaintiffs and was issued a formal apology and promised to provide all patients with compensation and aid to return to society. (http://plaza.ufl.edu/bjb1221/colonies.htm)
Causes and Risks Researches are not clear how the transmission of leprosy happens. It’s

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