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Can leprosy be prevented? Expert answers!

YES. Leprosy can be prevented. Read to know more about it.

Written by Bhavyajyoti Chilukoti |Published : January 29, 2018 1:56 PM IST

Leprosy, commonly known as Hansen s disease, is caused by Mycobacterium leprae (M. leprae), a slow-growing bacteria. The bacteria is called so because it can remain dormant in the body for long. The disease causes pale coloured disfiguring skin sores, lumps or bumps around the body that usually does not go away after several weeks or months. Leprosy also causes nerve damage leading to loss of feeling in the arms and legs and muscle weakness. Although the disease can be treated with multi-drug therapy consisting of antibiotics, not many know that the disease can be prevented. Dr Sakshi Srivastava, Consultant Dermatologist, Jaypee Hospital, Noida explains how the disease can be prevented. Read about the symptoms of leprosy that can help you to diagnose the condition.

Can leprosy be prevented?

The best way to prevent leprosy is to avoid long-term, close contact with an untreated, infected person. Although there is no vaccination against leprosy, according to studies, research is still on its initial stage. But currently, no vaccination can offer protection against the bacteria causing leprosy. Normally, a person's immune system is strong enough to prevent an infection. Unlike adults, kids are at a high risk of catching the infection if exposed to an infected person. Here are few must-to-know facts about leprosy or Hansen s disease.

How to prevent the spread of leprosy?

If anyone is infected with the bacteria, the best way to prevent the spread of leprosy is through early diagnosis and treatment. For people who are in close contact with the person (lives in the same place or takes care of the patient), undergoing immediate examinations can help prevent the spread of the disease. Also, annual tests to diagnose leprosy are recommended for at least five years after a person comes in contact with an infected person. If diagnosed early, the disease can be prevented from spreading and early treatment can improve the quality of life of a person with leprosy.

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