Diseases Home > Leprosy Information

Leprosy is a highly contagious bacterial infection that primarily affects the nerves, skin, and mucous membranes. It is also called Hansen's disease, after Dr. Gerhard Armauer Hansen, a Norwegian scientist who first discovered the cause of leprosy in 1873. Although the disease might be spread partially through contact with infected respiratory droplets, transmission is still not clearly understood, as evidenced by the fact that over half of the people who develop leprosy have no confirmed contact with an infected person.
Once a diagnosis is confirmed, treatment is relatively simple and involves antibiotics and supportive care. The process may be lengthy, however, lasting up to two years in some cases.
(Click Leprosy for more information on this topic, including possible symptoms, how it is diagnosed, and conditions that it may be confused with.)
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Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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