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Question:
What is Leporsy? What dose it do to people? Is there a cure?



Replies:
Leprosy is caused by a bacteria called Mycobacterium leprae. It is in the same genus as the organism that causes tuberculosis. It is hard to cure with antibiotics because it has a waxy cell wall that is hard to break down. The bacteria destroys the peripheral nerves and the patient is insensitive to pain. This can cause injury if the patient gets burned or steps on something because they don't know they have been hurt. There is some destruction of bone in the affected area because the nerves to the area are affected and the tissue can die. It is treated with rifampin and clofazimine which are antibiotics but they are fairly toxic. People with leprosy used to be sent to leper colonies and were shunned because of the disfiguration and fear of catching the disease.

K. Van Hoeck



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