What is Hansen’s Disease?
What are the three main symptoms of Hansen’s disease? Why was leprosy changed to Hansen’s disease? Can this disease be cured? Read on to learn more about this condition. A cure for Hansen’s disease is not yet available. However, the disease is treatable with proper medical care.
What are 3 symptoms of Hansen’s disease?
Hansen’s disease is an infectious bacterial infection that attacks the skin, nerves and mucous membranes. The symptoms range from numbness and skin lesions to muscle weakness and even blindness. However, if detected early, treatment is possible and a patient can lead an active life. Though once thought to be highly contagious, the disease is now curable with antibiotics. However, it is still important to note that antibiotics can only reverse the damage that has already been done.
Since the disease affects the nerves and mucous membranes, it can be difficult to diagnose. Since the disease causes the loss of sensation, many injuries will go unnoticed. Doctors often prescribe a combination of two or three antibiotics to treat Hansen’s disease. This is done to minimize the risk of antibiotic resistance.
Do people still get Hansen’s disease?
Hansen’s disease is a relatively rare disease in the United States, but it still affects an estimated 2 million people worldwide. It’s spread by contact with untreated people and through mucous secretions. Fortunately, doctors have developed treatment options that reduce the risk of transmission and have helped prevent the disease from becoming life-threatening.
This condition, which was once known as leprosy, is caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium leprae. It’s a bacterial infection that affects the nerves, skin, and lining of the nose. It is curable by antibiotics, but it cannot reverse the damage already done.
Although treatment has significantly improved the condition, the disease still has a negative social stigma. This causes patients to feel more isolated and suffer from mental health issues. It also makes it more difficult to continue treatment.
Why was leprosy changed to Hansen’s disease?
The World Health Organization has suggested that leprosy be replaced with the name Hansen’s disease, which is more neutral and avoids the association with aggressive imagery. Despite the recent change in terminology, leprosy has been a problem for lepers for many centuries.
Historically, leprosy was a disease that affected the skin and was highly contagious. The disease spread from Africa to Asia and later to Europe, though it only recently spread to the New Continent. The disease eventually declined after the Middle Ages and was wiped out by pandemics.
Despite its history, the word leprosy does not exist in ancient Chinese writings. The “Nei Ching,” the oldest medical text in China, describes a disease similar to leprosy, but does not mention it by that name. The ancient Chinese medical text also describes the symptoms of the disease, including a lack of eyebrows.
Is leprosy still around in 2022?
Today, there is still a stigma surrounding leprosy, which makes it difficult for people affected by the disease to find jobs, homes, or schools. Leprosy-related stigma is exacerbated by historic practices that ostracize and exclude people with the disease. In addition, people who are newly diagnosed with the disease often lose their jobs or go unemployed. In some countries, children are even excluded from schooling or other opportunities.
The World Health Organization (WHO) is working to eradicate leprosy in most countries by the early 21st century. However, the disease is still prevalent in some areas, and more than 127,500 new cases are expected to be reported in 2020. The WHO is aiming for a 70 percent reduction in new cases each year, but it has yet to achieve this goal.