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Lecture 4

HLTB21H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Molokai, Rifampicin, Leper Colony

Health Studies
Course Code
Caroline Barakat

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Lecture 4 Hansen’s disease (Leprosy)
Mentioned in the Egyptian papyrus document (1550 BC)
Ancient Indian writings 60 BC
Arrived in Rome in 62 BC
Present in ancient Greece after the time of Alexander the great
Disease of the soul
Thought to be a hereditary disease, might have been caused by a curse or a punishment from
Lepers were stigmatized
Evidence of lepers burned at the stake/lost all rights and money if people found out
they had this disease
Special clothing/arrival notification (clappers)
Leprosariums/Leper house
Special hospitals for lepers
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
Mass of Separation
A decline in Europe around AD 1350 with a spread to North America
1997 the last Leprosarium abolished and the lepers were set free
Leprosy still with us today
Father Damien- Martyr of Molokai, said disease was high infectious
Dr. Armauer Hansen (Norway 1873)
Discovered leprosy germ under a microscope
Mycobacterium leprae
Cannot be grown in tissue, only mice or armadillos
Bacteria slowly multiply (12 14 doubling time)
Incubation period of 3 -5 years
Thought to be transmitted via droplets from the nose
Not highly infectious, and there appears to be some genetic susceptibility
Affects skin, nerves, and mucous membranes
Low virulence
Trend was cyclic, and disease is not distributed equally globally
Vaccine for Tuberculosis makes you less susceptible to getting Leprosy
Brazil, India, Africa have the highest occurrence of cases worldwide
Rod shaped producing bacteria
Chronic disease
Leprosy can affect people of all races all around the world
Most common in warm, wet areas and in the tropics and subtropics
Most common between age 10 14 and 35 -44 years
Rarely observed in infants
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