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Leprosy is an infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae. It was Hansen 1 in 1873 who discovered M. leprae, the first bacterium to be identified as causing disease in humans. It is believed to be transmitted via droplets from the nose and mouth, through close contact with a person affected by the disease who has not received treatment. The bacillus multiplies slowly and it can take up to 20 years before symptoms appear. Leprosy primarily affects the skin and peripheral nerves, the upper respiratory tract and the eyes. Delayed treatment can result in physical and sensory disability, including damage to fingers and toes, contractures, inability to close the eyelids and blindness, which often lead to social exclusion. With early diagnosis and multidrug therapy treatment, monitoring and early treatment of orthopaedic complications can decrease long term morbidity, leprosy patient can practically lead normal life.

Mycobacterium leprae
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