What is Leprosy

The leprosy bacterium attacks nerve endings and undoes the body’s ability to feel pain.

Without feeling pain, the individual can inadvertently injure himself and his wounds have the possibility of becoming infected.

They also have the possibility of undergoing changes in the dermis that cause ulcers which, if left untreated, can lead to complications, injuries and disfigurement of the face and extremities.

If the facial nerves are damaged, the individual may lose the ability to blink, which would occasionally lead to blindness.

Treatment

Many of the complications of leprosy are preventable.

Starting in 1981, the pathology was successfully treated with a combination of 3 antibiotic drugs, the so-called polychemotherapy or PQT, which is given to patients free of charge internationally.

If the therapy is administered in the early stages of the pathology, they have the possibility of preventing many of the disabilities and deformities, the professionals point out.

The problem is that diagnosis is often delayed by reduced access to health services, as explained by Alice Cruz, Special Rapporteur for the Suppression of Discrimination against Individuals Harmed by Leprosy at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. (OHCHR).

“Leprosy is endemic in territories whose health systems do not remain developed, so it is not always feasible to ensure an early diagnosis,” the OHCHR rapporteur told BBC Mundo.

“And if the diagnosis is not correct, the pathology develops and the nerve disease cannot be prevented, which is what creates the physical disability in leprosy,” she adds.

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