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Leprosy Prevention & Control Week - February 25-29, 2008

Leprosy, also known as Hansen’s Disease is a chronic,mildly communicable disease caused by infection from Mycobacterium leprae, a rod-shaped, acid-fast bacillus. It primarily affects the skin; the mucous membranes, especially those in the nose; and the peripheral nervous system.

Leprosy exacts a high physical and social toll. If left untreated, it can result in deformity and disability. In many societies, people with leprosy have been made outcasts from their communities.

The Norwegian doctor, Gerhard Armauer Hansen first observed M. leprae as an acid-fast, alcohol-fast, strong Gram-positive bacillus in tissue specimens from leprosy patients in 1873. The following year, he proposed that the bacteria caused leprosy; hence the name 'Hansen's Disease' emerged.



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