This passage discusses Hansen's disease, which is more commonly known as leprosy.

Lexile Level: 1150L

Categories: Sports & Health

Also known as Hansen's disease, leprosy has plagued the earth since ancient times. Lepers, or sufferers of leprosy, were shunned throughout history because their disease was considered "unclean" or "a curse from God." In medieval times, sufferers of leprosy had to wear bells to warn the people ahead that a leper was in the area. The disease is infectious, but it is not as contagious as people once thought. Hansen's disease was an incurable disease that disfigured its victims by causing their limbs to die and fall off. The disease is caused by slowly multiplying bacteria called mycobacterium. It affects the skin, nerves, and mucous membranes. The transmission rate is very low, and today 95% of the world population is naturally immune to leprosy. In 1982, a new drug treatment called Multi-Drug-Therapy (MDT) was introduced, which came about from research done by Dr. Vincent Barry at the Medical Research Council of Ireland. This drug therapy has drastically reduced leprosy cases in the world today.


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