Identifying and Curing Leprosy

Making a Diagnosis

In order to make a diagnosis, the doctor will ask a number of questions and perform a physical exam, looking at the skin and other parts of the body for signs of leprosy. If the doctor has a high suspicion that a person has the condition, he or she will likely recommend a skin biopsy.
Several other medical conditions that share common symptoms with leprosy include:
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus)
  • Lupus vulgaris
  • Dermal leishmaniasis
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Yaws
  • Syringomyelia.
Because leprosy can resemble other skin diseases, a diagnosis is often delayed.
(Click Diagnosis of Leprosy for more information about how it is diagnosed.)

How Is It Treated?

Historically, there was no cure for leprosy, and lepers were segregated for extended periods of time. Today, most people with the condition are treated in the home and easily cured with antibiotics. Also, with early diagnosis and treatment, many symptoms and complications can be minimized or avoided altogether.
Treatment involves medicines along with supportive care. Supportive care is treatment of leprosy symptoms and complications. The length of time a person is treated will vary depending upon the form of the disease that a person has. Treatment will generally continue for one year for the tuberculoid form and two years for the lepromatous form.
(Click Treatment of Leprosy for more information about how the disease is treated.)

Leprosy Disease

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