Leprosy is a misunderstood disease and it has myths and misconceptions attached to it. Leprosy is one of the oldest bacterial infection of the world and it is also the most stigmatised disease.
This disease affects the nervous system, and this results in loss of sensation in the exposed parts of the body like the hands, feet and face. Unfortunately, India is home to almost 58 per cent of all leprosy cases.
This is a highly contagious condition
Only repeated and close contact with an infected person can give you this disease. Ninety-five per cent of adults are immune to it. As such, it is not highly contagious.
If you have leprosy, your fingers and toes will fall off
This is not true. Due to loss of sensation and numbness, you may suffer injuries that can lead to permanent disfigurement. But the disease by itself will not make your toes and fingers fall off.
The leprosy described in historical texts is the same disease that we have today
This is a false belief. The leprosy mentioned in historical texts came with many skin conditions like rashes, patchy skin and swelling. This was a highly contagious disease. But the present-day leprosy is not that infectious.
Leprosy is the result of a curse or a sin that you may have committed
The slow-growing bacterium Mycobacterium leprae is what causes this infection.
People who have leprosy must be isolated and kept in seclusion
Of course not. Just get them proper treatment. Antibiotics can cure this condition. If you have leprosy, you can live a normal life among family and friends.
You can get leprosy when sitting next to someone who has the disease
No, you cannot get the disease through casual contact. It is not a highly infectious disease.
This disease results in death
It can be easily cured with antibiotics. But proper and timely treatment is needed.
You are infectious till you are cured
You are infectious only in the initial stages. Once antibiotic treatment starts, you are not.
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