Definition. Leprosy is a chronic disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae.
The distal portion of the eye and the testicles may also be damaged.
Etiology. Mycobacterium leprae, the cause of leprosy, was discovered in 1873 by G. Arrnauer Hansen of Norway. tuberculosis, from 1.5 to 6.0 j.t. long and 0.2 to 0.45 k thick. It occurs in tissues singly, in “cigar-bundle” clusters, and in oval aggregates15 to 25 c in diameter called globe Apparent accidental inoculation of two Marines by tattooing was reported during World Wiir II.
The successful inoculation of footpads of mice, achieved in 1960, has made it possible to identify sulfone-resistant strains of. M large Incidence and Epidemiology. Known of old throughout south Asia and Africa, and almost epidemic throughout Europe in the eleventh to patchy endemic zone encircling the world largely between the thirtieth parallels of
South Africa. Outside of these areas, it does not appear to be communicable. Only a handful of cases remain in Scandinavia and none in most European countries. In the United States, leprosy is endemic in those states bordering on the Gulf of Mexico and in Hawaii.
The transmission of leprosy is mysterious. Yet, it is so easy to acquire that nearly half the patients with the recently acquired disease are unaware of having had any contact with another diseased person. persons are subject. Such susceptibility may be inherited, though this is unproven.
The determinants of susceptibility are not known. Children are more gUGCEptibic, other things being equal than adults, though the difference is much less marked in nonendemic areas they do become infected than persons with a positive reaction. Diet is probably unimportant. Pathogenesis and Clinical Manifestations.
Lep-rosy involves principally the skin and subcutaneous nerves. It occurs in reasonably well-defined types, in both of which the disfigurement and deformity may be produced either by the disease process itself or by the consequences of the loss of sensation or motor or trophic innervation of an affected area or part.