What Is Leprosy?
According to the latest report by the Leprosy Mission Trust India, the Covid-19 pandemic and its ensuing recommendations on social distancing and lockdowns caused a fall of 62.5% in the detection of active leprosy cases between April and September 2020 in four States — Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh.
- The second wave has put brakes on the Leprosy Case Detection Campaign and the scope for getting healthcare and disability management services in institutional setup reduced.
- Further, the pandemic highlighted that the ‘vulnerable population’ is not a homogenous entity.
- Their vulnerability is sometimes a complex intersection of different social variables: poverty, disability, stigma, exclusion, etc.
- Leprosy is Bacterial Infection
- Leprosy is a chronic, progressive bacterial infection. It is caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium Leprae, which is an acid-fast rod-shaped bacillus.
- It is also known as Hansen’s Disease.
- It is one of the oldest diseases in recorded history, afflicting humanity since time immemorial.
Areas of Infection: Skin, Peripheral nerves, Upper respiratory tract and Lining of the nose
- It is a disease that leaves a terrifying image in its wake of mutilation, rejection, and exclusion from society.
- Mode of Transmission: Mainly by breathing airborne droplets from the affected individuals. It can be contacted at any age.
- Red patches on the skin.
- Skin Lesion
- Numbness in arms, hands, and legs.
- Ulcers on the soles of feet.
- Muscle Weakness and excessive weight loss.
- Long Incubation Period: It usually takes about 3-5 years for symptoms to appear after coming into contact with Leprosy causing bacteria.
- The long incubation period makes it difficult for doctors to determine when and where the person got infected.
- Cure: Leprosy is curable with the combination of drugs known as Multi-Drug Therapy (MDT)