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Leprosy

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Summary

Leprosy is a chronic infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae and affects the skin and nerves, often seen in developing countries. The prevalence of leprosy is 5.7 per 10,000 population. There are two forms included, tuberculoid and lepromatous leprosy. Pathway of the infectious disease is mainly through nasal droplet infection, contact with infected soil or insect vectors. Leprosy primarily affects the skin and the peripheral nerves, especially the mucosa, the upper respiratory tract, subcutaneous parts of the nerves and the eye. Neuropathy causes insensitiveness and myopathy such as plantarulceration, foot drop and joint deformities. The autonomic nervous system, cardiovascular system, respiratory system, hepatobiliary system, and renal system are also affected. These manifestations lead to important complications such as baroreflex dysfunction, respiratory dysautonomia, leprous hepatitis, orchitis, glomerulonephritis, amyloidosis. With early diagnosis followed by an appropriate treatment with rifampicin, dapsone and, in case of lepromatous leprosy, additionally with clofazimine, patients can be cured without further disabilities.

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