Similar term(s): Hansen disease.
Leprosy is a chronic infectious disease
caused by the bacteria
leprae, which affects the skin and nerves.
If left untreated, it can lead to progressive and permanent damage of nerves,
loss of sensation and sweating in the extremities. It can paralyse the muscles
in the hands, feet and face.
There are many countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America with a significant
number of leprosy cases.
An estimated one to two million people are visibly and irreversibly disabled
due to past and present leprosy who require to be cared for by the community in
which they live.
Source: GreenFacts, based on WHO
Leprosy: the disease