Description of leprosy

Leprosy is one of the oldest afflictions of mankind, but it is still with us today. Today, every two minutes someone on Earth is diagnosed with leprosy, and every fifth is a child!

Leprosy only develops in humans. It spreads in the same way as TB: the pathogen (Mycobacterium leprae) is transmitted by sneezing and coughing. 95% of humanity is immune to the leprosy pathogen. It only ravages our fellow human beings who are malnourished, live in unhealthy conditions and are at risk of other infections - unfortunately, among the most destitute of the masses. They are what Mother Teresa of Calcutta called the "wretched of the fourth world".

Mycobacterium leprae

However leprosy is much more than the ravages of a pathogen. That is why it is not enough to fight it with medical means alone. The present and future of a person with leprosy and his or her family, and often his or her wider community (e.g. village) is destroyed psychologically, and socially. Due to ignorance and millennia-old prejudices, leprosy victims are still despised, ostracised and, in many places, completely deprived of their human rights. These psychological sufferings are much more painful than the disease itself.


The fight against leprosy can only be fought by a concerted attack on several fronts:

with a comprehensive fight against the deepest poverty, with healing, rehabilitation, education, health education, information, legal protection, and inclusion.

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Frequently asked questions

Infectious? Would we catch leprosy if we were among the sick? Is it hereditary? A fatal disease? How long does it take to develop? Can leprosy be prevented? Find the answers in this article.


Leprosy today

Unfortunately, millions of people in Asia, Africa and South America still suffer from leprosy today! 80% of the world's leprosy patients live in India.


Leprosy in the past

It is one of the oldest diseases of mankind. 1750 BC: The Code of Hammurabi mentions that "lepers are to be excluded from society".