26 Jan 2013 04:00
Leprosy, or Hansen’s disease, is the sickness of the developing world - sickness born out of poverty. Leprosy is a chronic infectious disease which attacks the skin, the peripheral nerves, the mucous air passages and the eyes. The transmission of leprosy is similar to that of tuberculosis. To date, science has not been able to produce a vaccine against leprosy.
The physical handicap caused by the disease stigmatises its victims: it renders the sufferers social outcasts, excluded from their familial and social environment.
Today there are more than a million cases of leprosy identified worldwide, excluding the large number of ex-patients needing specialised mid-term medical and surgical treatment or social assistance because of the handicap caused by the disease.