Travelling down to Eastern Nigeria from Lagos over the years, I remember that as we approached Delta State, we would see lepers thronging the highways.
Some of them begged alms, while others hawked items. Apparently, they came onto the highways from the government marked lepers’ community around there. Seeing them always brought tears to my eyes.
World Leprosy Day is marked every year on January 29th. In Asaba, Delta State, lepers stormed the Delta State Ministry of Women Affairs and Community Development and in fear, the workers took to their heels.
If a leper walked up to you what would you do? I imagine, you would wish a sudden disappearance act.
Now, this is usually because you assume that when a leper comes near you or touches, you feel dirty and think you would immediately contact the disease.
Leprosy is a long term infection caused by mycobacterium leprae.
Leprosy can be considered a disease that affect parts of the body especially the skin and nerves. Injury and damage to nerves can then lead to potentially long-term consequences
The social and psychological effects of leprosy, as well as its highly visible debilities, have resulted in a historical stigma associated with leprosy.
Leprosy can manifest in different forms, depending on the body’s response to the presence of the disease causing organism.
Leprosy is rarely fatal, and the primary consequence of infection is nerve impairment and debilitating sequelae.
The incubation period of leprosy is long, ranging from a few months to 20-50 years.
The route of transmission has not been definitively established, although human-to-human aerosol spread of nasal secretions is thought to be the most likely mode of transmission in most cases.
LEPROSY IS NOT SPREAD BY TOUCH, SINCE THE MYCOBACTERIA ARE INCAPABLE OF CROSSING INTACT SKIN.
Living near people with leprosy is associated with increased transmission. Among household contacts, the relative risk for leprosy is increased.
Show love to lepers, they are human too.
I love you, I love your health.
Your favourite family physician,