Disease of Exclusion: Leprosy and Lepers
– leprosy attracted the most attention because it was the most hated and feared. It had resulted
from “sin” so it was a loathsome disease.
– There was a social etiquette in countries to shun those who were lepers
– lepers had to wear special clothing as well as well as ring bells to warn people they were
What is leprosy?
– today it is an infections disease
– causes nerve damage, sores and discomfort.
– Caused by a germ or bacteria
– sometimes referred to as “Hansen disease” from its founder
– leprosy from what we know is difficult to transmit – have to be around someone for an
extensive amount of time.
– The symptoms of leprosy can occur sometimes only after a long period of time
– Lesions on body take a long time to heal and can generate numbness “claw hands and feet”
– blinking reflex can be affected and lead to blindness
– limbs can occasionally fall off (does not occur often in cases of leprosy)
– It would be very difficult to hide if you had leprosy because of its external symptoms.
Treatment of Leprosy
– different antibiotics to treat leprosy today, first ones created in the 1940s
– mdt – multiple drug therapy in the 1980s helped because many different drugs were used to try
to heal leprosy.
– Early treatment can prevent someone from transmitting the disease as well live a normal life.
Myth # 2
Leprosy: prevalence rate
– world health organization wanted to eradicate it by 2000 but still unsuccessful, however they
have eliminated leprosy in many countries
– substantial numbers countries like Brazil, Tanzania, Madagescar, India, Nepal, etc
– India has become a good example through education of the disease and the drugs, which have
led to a decline of reported cases of the disease.
– Overcoming the social stigma is one of the hardest oarts of disease
– the lepers built communities to live together away from the rest of society.
The Great Leper Hunt 1090-1363
– during this time a large number of people in europe were “identified” and “confronted” to have
– priest, physicians, and political leaders were behinded this identification ad proclaimed it to be
an epidemic and therefore needed to contain it – these leaders see the lepers as scapegoats to accomplish other things within the states by
moving these people out
– the fear of leprosy by this point was rampant because of propaganda pushed by political leaders
– 4 and 5 century suggests that people had leprosy (dug up bodies)
– 1000-1250 AD europe's population was growing significantly and was right before the black
– Scholars argue how many people actually had leprosy. Hospitals were built to house lepers
themselves. 2000 of them were built in France. 220 lepers hospitals were built in the UK.And
about 1.5 million people were being helped in the UK but it is unknown as to how many people
Why leprosy declined 1250 AD
– some scholars say the black plague killed out a vast number of people creating a lessoning
audience for the disease to grow
– plague takes away the caregivers of leprosy and people died from leprosy much quicker.
– Leprosy hospitals started to close because there was no