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Paper Example on Leprosy, Mycobacterium Leprae

4 pages
1059 words
Middlebury College
Type of paper: 
Case study
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The following essay talks about leprosy, Mycobacterium Leprae. It describes how the disease is transmitted, the major signs and symptoms that one needs to look out for, the lab tests that are carried out confirm the existence of leprosy, the parameters set in place to prevent the disease and the treatment of leprosy.

Part one

Name of the disease

Leprosy, scientifically known as Mycobacterium Leprae, is a disease that is infectious which results in extreme scarring skin scores and the damage of the nerves in the arms, the skin on the body and legs. The disease has been around for a very long time since the ancient times and it is most of the times associated with very negative stigma and most of the times people who suffered from it were shunned from the rest of the society. Many people around the world are so shaken by the slight mention of leprosy because many believe that its a contagious, incurable and mutilating disease.

Leprosy has been classified into three types using the Ridley-Jopling system. There is intermediate leprosy, where a person shows some hypopigmented spots and their sensitivity seems to be reduced but there is no nerve thickening. Tuberculoid leprosy, where a persons immunity cellar is high and they show very scarce lesions that are distributed asymmetrically and they show hypopigmentation in the middle. Lepromatous Leprosy, where one has a very poor immune response and the ones high antibody level which does not control the bacillary spread, (Han, Sizer, Thompson,2009).

How it is transmitted

Opposite to many peoples beliefs, leprosy is not actually that contagious. However, there have been some rumors that associated this disease with being poor. It is only transmitted when one comes into close contact with an infected person repeatedly. If your nose or saliva droplets come into contact with an infected and untreated person, then there is a high chance of on being infected, (Smith, 2016).

Signs and symptoms

Leprosy affects ones skin and also the nerves outside the spinal cord and the brain. This is referred to as the peripheral nerves. The main symptom that progresses itself when one is infected is the sores, bumps, and lumps on ones skins which are disfiguring that are persistent and dont disappear for months. One can also suffer from loss of sensitivity in ones arms and legs and also the occurrence of muscle weakness due to the damage to the nerves. There is also the appearance of skin lesions which are normally lighter than how your normal skin would look like, (Smith, 2016).

Clinical lab tests were done

Leprosy is tested in several ways. The doctor usually looks for telltale signs and symptoms of leprosy by conducting a physical exam on the patient. Doctors also send a small piece of the patients skin to the laboratory by scrapping it off their body. A lepromin skin test may also be performed to be able to distinguish what form of leprosy one could be having. The lepromin test is done by the injection of a sizeable amount of leprosy causing bacteria into the upper forearm. A person suffering from tuberculoid leprosy will feel some irritation at the injection point.

Prevention of leprosy

The best way to avoid or prevent being affected by leprosy is to, first of all, avoid sharing the fluids either saliva or coming into contact with the mucus of an infected person. Also, prolonged exposure to an infected person could lead to infection. One is also advised to keenly check their hygiene and do occasional visits to the doctor for an overall health checkup.

Treatment available

WHO provides free treatment to everyone suffering from leprosy? It is treated with antibiotics with the number of antibiotics intake depending on the stage and type of leprosy that one has been infected with. There is also the provision of anti-inflammatory tablets that aid in controlling the nerve pain and damage caused by leprosy, (Han, Sizer, Thompson,2009).

Part two

What is the name of the disease which affect by Mycobacterium Leprae




Lyme disease

Which of the following show how leprosy is spread to humans.

Coming into contact with an infected persons mucus

Coming into contact with an infected persons saliva

Prolonged exposure to someone with leprosy

All the above

How is leprosy treated


Taking antibiotics


Taking herbs

What can be done to avoid leprosy?

Avoiding prolonged exposure to someone suffering from leprosy

Take a bath in the river

Take medication

Wear a mask protective gear when greeting a person with leprosy

Who is more likely to be affected by leprosy




All the above


Part three: Short case scenario

A 30-year-old nurse who works as a humanitarian with the UN, 6 months after being posted to a forest reserve hospital realized some sores on her skin. She initially treated it a skin disease and covered it up with some mild make-up. Two months after the appearance of the sores on her skin she began to lose sensitivity on her arms and her legs and there were also appearance lumps which started disfiguring her. She consulted with the chief doctor at her hospital and he decided to conduct several skin tests where the manifestation of a bacteria disease came to light. The doctor firmly confirmed the damaged of the nurses nerves and decided to inquire about her daily activities.

The doctor asked her, Have you been attending to a patient with a skin disease and the nurse replied, I have, actually I have been tending to the patient almost three days every week.

Critical thinking to the correct diagnosis

The disease is diagnosed by finding the bacteria Mycobacterium Leprae in the skin lesions when the tests are done. The nurse was infected by exposure to an infected person. This usually happens when someone has prolonged exposure to an infected person and they happen to touch their nose or come into contact with their saliva either physically or when someone sneezes with their mouth open. There is no vaccine available for the prevention of the disease most of these cases are normally treated with antibiotics and sometimes anti-inflammatory drugs.



Han, X., Sizer, K., Thompson, (2009). Comparative Sequence Analysis of Mycobacterium Leprae and the New Leprosy- Causing Mycobacterium Lepromatosis. J Bacteriol, 191, 6067-6074.

Smith, D., (May 9, 2016). Leprosy.


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