Urgent warning over 'medieval’ leprosy that causes blindness and paralysis as cases DOUBLE | The Sun

A DISEASE that can leave sufferers blind and paralysed is on the rise in the US, experts warn.

Leprosy, also known as Hansen’s disease, is an infectious bug that affects the skin and nervous system.

The condition is fairly non-existent in the US in the modern day – but cases are now rising.

The number of reported leprosy cases in southeastern states has more than doubled over the past decade, according to the Centre for Disease Control. 

Some 159 new cases were reported in the US in 2020.

Of these cases, nearly 70 per cent were reported in Florida, California, Louisiana, Hawaii, New York, and Texas.

Read more on leprosy

My baby boy’s eczema was so bad people thought he had LEPROSY

Doctors discover man’s rash was actually a case of killer medieval disease

Central Florida alone accounted for nearly 20 per cent of the total cases reported nationwide, suggesting the disease has become endemic in the area.

The CDC recommended that travel to Florida be considered when conducting leprosy contact tracing in any state.

Leprosy has been historically uncommon in the US, with infections peaking around 1983.

After this, there was a drastic reduction in the annual number of documented cases until 2000.

Most read in Health


Eating household staple can regulate person's mood and make them less angry


You can eat chips and lose weight! 6 fast foods transformed to under 500kcals


I’m a PT – the exercises you must never do with knee, back or shoulder pain


Doctors discover man's rash was actually a case of killer medieval disease

Since then, reports demonstrate a gradual increase in the incidence of leprosy in the US. 

Leprosy is still endemic in parts of the world, with around 200,000 people around the globe diagnosed annually.

The World Health Organisation is working to completely eliminate the disease and in 2019, 45 countries reported no new cases.

It is usually spread by droplets from the mouth but can also be passed on from prolonged skin-to-skin contact or from contamination with tattooing.

In medieval times, sufferers were ostracised from society because of fears about its infectiousness, but it is now curable with modern medicine.  

The disease is now treated with a combination of antibiotics.

Symptoms of Leprosy

Leprosy primarily infects the skin and nerves, but in some cases, it can affect other parts of the body.

The illness is extremely slow to develop, with some infected individuals not developing symptoms for decades after being exposed.

The disease can cause skin symptoms such as:

  • Discolored patches of skin, usually flat, that may be numb and look faded (lighter than the skin around)
  • Growths (nodules) on the skin
  • Thick, stiff or dry skin
  • Painless ulcers on the soles of feet
  • Painless swelling or lumps on the face or earlobes
  • Loss of eyebrows or eyelashes

Symptoms caused by damage to the nerves are:

  • Numbness of affected areas of the skin
  • Muscle weakness or paralysis (especially in the hands and feet)
  • Enlarged nerves (especially those around the elbow and knee and in the sides of the neck)
  • Eye problems that may lead to blindness (when facial nerves are affected)

Symptoms caused by the disease in the mucous membranes are:

  • A stuffy nose
  • Nosebleeds

Source: CDC

Source: Read Full Article