Mentioned in the egyptian papyrus document (1550 bc) Present in ancient greece after the time of alexander the great. Thought to be a hereditary disease, might have been caused by a curse or a punishment from. Evidence of lepers burned at the stake/lost all rights and money if people found out they had this disease. First leper house in england in ~ ad 936. Middle of the 12th century lepers suffered a loss of civic status. 13th century there were 1900 leprosaria in use. A decline in europe around ad 1350 with a spread to north america. 1997 the last leprosarium abolished and the lepers were set free. Father damien- martyr of molokai, said disease was high infectious. Cannot be grown in tissue, only mice or armadillos. Bacteria slowly multiply (12 14 doubling time) Thought to be transmitted via droplets from the nose. Not highly infectious, and there appears to be some genetic susceptibility.