Break Stigma, Know Facts Behind Common Myths About Hansen’s Disease

Leprosy, also known as Hansen’s disease, is highly stigmatized and can leave patients feeling isolated and discriminated against. It is caused by Mycobacterium leprae and affects the skin, nerves, eyes, and nasal lining, leading to symptoms such as lumps, ulcers, and discolored patches on the skin, as well as nerve damage. Although rare, leprosy still affects around 208,000 people worldwide, with approximately 100 cases diagnosed in the U.S. each year. World Leprosy Day aims to break the stigma associated with the disease and debunk common misconceptions. It is not highly contagious, it is curable with antibiotics, affects people with poor immunity, and does not necessarily involve isolation. Nerve damage can occur, but fingers and toes do not simply “fall off.”

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