Leprosy : the facts
- One new case of leprosy is reported every 40 seconds
- Hansen’s disease can be completely cured – fact.
- Leprosy is caused by the bacillus mycobacterium leprae, which creates changes to nerves.
- Untreated leprosy can lead to hand, foot and eyelid nerve damage and crippling deformities, like ‘claw’ hand, ‘drop’ foot and blindness.
- Hansenians can be cured with six to twelve months of uninterrupted drug treatment.
Leprosy : the signs
- An early symptom is often a small, light-coloured patch on the skin
- The inability to feel touch, heat or pain in the affected areas
- Enlargement or tenderness of peripheral nerves, associated with signs of nerve damage, such as sensory loss in those areas
- Paralysis and wasting, especially in the hands and feet, resulting in deformities
Hansen’s disease : the cure
S E T
- Survey of the population (discontinued in 2002) : Early detection of the disease is essential in order to avoid permanent nerve damage and deformities;
- Education (continuing) : Awareness of the facts, the signs and cure for leprosy amongst the population;
- Treatment (continuing only at PHCs since 2002) : MDT – Multiple Drug Therapy, a combination of the anti-leprosy drugs rifampicin, clofazimine and dapsone
- Physical rehabilitation of patients who have developed deformities/disabilities – Rehabilitation (continuing).