1. What is leprosy?
Leprosy is a long-term infectious disease. Leprosy mainly affects the skin and is also referred to as Hansen's disease. It may also affect the eyes, lining of the respiratory tract and peripheral nerves. Leprosy is of two types: lepromatous and tuberculoid. Lepromatous is more severe and causes lumps.
2. What are the common symptoms of leprosy?
The signs and symptoms of leprosy are easy to observe and include:
- Lack of sensation in the hands, feet, arms and legs
- Skin lesions with lighter skin colour
- Skin lesions with reduced sensations
- Muscle weakness
- Lesions which do not heal
3. What causes leprosy?
Leprosy is caused due to bacteria called Mycobacterium leprae. Many variations in the genes make a person more susceptible to acquire this condition. Therefore, not everyone who comes in contact with the causative microorganism may develop leprosy.
4. Is leprosy an inherited condition?
Although it is not an inherited condition, the variations in the genes leading to an increased risk may be inherited. These variations make an individual prone to catch the disease when they come in contact with the causative agent. Susceptibility to the condition is found to run in families. However, inheritance pattern is still unclear.
5. How does this condition transmit from one person to another?
It does not spread easily, and not every individual who comes in contact with the infected person or with the bacteria may develop leprosy. However, it is known to be caused when a healthy individual comes in contact with the droplets of cough or nasal fluid of the infected individual. This is mostly observed when the infected individual sneezes or coughs.