Leprosy is an infectious disease just like any other infectious disease.
It can appear in any country, regardless of the climate.
This disease is treatable and can be cured through medication!
Without treatment, it can cause:
- Damage to the skin
- Loss of sensation causing injuries and wounds that are painless and difficult to heal, especially on the hands and feet
- Motor nerve damage resulting in paralysis and claw hands
This disease can even go so far as to lead to disabilities and bodily mutilation.
It is therefore crucial to detect symptoms early on and treat them quickly to prevent the development of any disabilities.
The most common symptom of Leprosy is the presence of one or several spots on the skin.
Spots are often a different color than the rest of the skin and can be found anywhere on the body.
They do not itch, they do not hurt and they are insensitive to touch.
If you touch a spot with a piece of cotton or a pencil tip, the person will not feel it at all. This is because all skin sensitivity has been lost in that particular area.
Sometimes there are no spots on the skin.
Instead the person may have another, less common, symptom of the disease: tingling sensations or pain in the hands and feet.
Leprosy is caused by tiny, rod-shaped bacteria called 'bacillus.' It is spread between all people, regardless of whether they are young or old, male or female.
This bacteria is found in saliva and nasal secretions. It can be transmitted by spitting, coughing or sneezing.
To help avoid infection, always remember to cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing and wash your hands regularly.
You can catch Leprosy from an infected person who is still unaware of his condition or even by an infected person who doesn't take his medication properly.
Leprosy is not very contagious. You need to be in close, prolonged contact with a patient in order to catch it.
However, Leprosy develops slowly. If you have been infected, you will only start to notice the first symptoms about 5 years later.
If you start to notice symptoms that could be Leprosy, seek medical care immediately. At a health center they can carry out a full examination to diagnose you.
If they confirm that you have Leprosy, you will need to take medication for 6 months to up to a year, depending on your doctor's recommendations.
Thanks to medications that kill the harmful bacteria, Leprosy can be cured and disability can be prevented.
These medications stop the infection. They allow you to lead a normal home life, without fear of infecting family or friends.