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Leprosy (also called Hansen's disease) is chronic progressive disease caused by mycobacterium leprae or mycobacterium lepromatosis (leprosy bacteria) usually involve cooler body tissues (e.g. skin, superficial nerves, nose, eyes, larynx)
What are the bacteria that causes leprosy?
Leprosy is caused by Mycobacterium leprae which is a rod-shaped, obligate intracellular (can only grows inside of certain human and animal cells), slow-growing bacillus. Mycobacterium leprae is an "acid fast" bacterium, it stains red on a blue background due to mycolic acid content in its cell walls.
this organism cannot be cultured on artificial media
The exact mechanism of transmission of leprosy is not known, recently, the most believed way of transmission is by the respiratory route. Transmission by Insects cannot be completely ruled out.
Early signs and symptoms of leprosy
The early signs and symptoms of leprosy are very subtle and occur slowly over years usually.
Early signs and symptoms of leprosy include:
• Skin lesions: usually the earliest symptom, typically flat, hypopigmented or erythematous spots in the skin with slightly decreased sensitivity to touch or pain.
• Numbness in the hands, feet, legs, and arms, known as “glove and stocking anesthesia”
• Loss of temperature sensation
• Touch sensation reduced
• Pins and needles sensations
Major signs and symptoms of leprosy:
In addition to the early signs and symptoms mentioned above (Numbness, loss of temperature sensation, touch sensation reduced, pins and needles sensations) the major signs and symptoms of leprosy include:
Decreased or lost deep pressure sensations
Thickened nerves, (especially around the elbow and knee and in the sides of the neck)
Blisters and/or rashes
Painless ulcers on the soles of feet
Skin lesions of hypopigmented macules (flat, pale areas of skin that lost color)
Eye damage (dryness, reduced blinking)
Large ulcerations (later symptoms and signs)
Hair loss (for example, loss of eyebrows)
Loss of digits (later symptoms and signs)
Facial disfigurement (for example, loss of nose) (later symptoms and signs)
Erythema nodosum leprosum: tender skin nodules accompanied by other symptoms like fever,
Painless swelling or lumps on the face or earlobes
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