Leprosy, also called Hansen's disease, is a chronic infectious disease that primarily affects the skin, the peripheral nerves, the mucosa of the upper respiratory tract, and the eyes. Leprosy can lead to progressive permanent damage of these structures, and the resulting devastating disfigurement and disability has led to the historical social stigma and isolation (leper colonies) of those affected by the disease. LEPROSY
Leprosy is an infectious disease that has been known since biblical times. It is characterized by disfiguring skin sores, nerve damage, and progressive debilitation. Leprosy is also called Hansen's disease. CAUSES
Leprosy is caused by the organism Mycobacterium leprae.
SIGN AND SYMPTOMS
The most common symptoms of leprosy are:
* skin lesions that have decreased sensation to touch, heat, or pain and are are lighter than your normal skin color * skin lesions that do not heal after several weeks to months * numbness or absent sensation in the hands and arms, or feet and legs * muscle weakness
There are two main types of leprosy: tuberculoid and lepromatous. Both tyes of leprosy produce lesions on the skin, but the lepromatous form is most severe, producing large disfiguring nodules.
Tissue smear testing
* An incision is made in the skin, and the scalpel blade is used to obtain fluid from a lesion. The fluid is placed on a glass slide and stained by using the Ziehl-Neelson acid-fast method to look for organisms. * The bacterial index (BI) is then determined.
* Skin biopsy
* The skin biopsy sample should be examined for morphologic features and the presence of acid-fast bacilli. * Biopsy is useful for determining the morphologic index (MI), which is used in the evaluation and treatment of patients. It is the number of viable bacilli per 100 bacilli in the leprous tissue. * Sensory testing
* Tactile and temperature sensations should be...
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