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Now and Then

In the past centuries leprosy was a deadly disease and every person that had this disease was takenfar away from the rest of the community and left to die. Leprosy was awidespread disease and since it was easy to be infected, all the people triedto avoid any contact with the one who was leprosy infected. Many people diedfrom it. Nowadays, leprosy istreated with antibiotics that kill the mycobacterium leprae, a bacteria causingleprosy. A combination of three medicines must be used and these medicines arerifampin, dapsone and clofazimine. It is important to start the treatment atthe beginning, so that any long-term consequences could be avoided.

It depends upon the formof the leprosy how long the treatment will last. In the case oftiberculoid leprosy, a treatment lasts one year, and in the case of lepromatousleprosy, it lasts two years. A small percentage of people remain uncured afterthe treatment. These three antibioticsare the most commonly used in the leprosy treatment, but the practice hasproved that other antibiotics such as clarithromycin, ofloxacin, levofloxacin,and minocycline give good results in the treatment of this disease as well. The leprosy treatment isfree of charge and the only thing that has to be done is to visit a doctor.Also, because of the deformities that can appear, supportive care is alsoimportant. So, one should not hesitate to visit orthopedic surgeons, eyedoctors and physical therapists. A patient who has undergone a leprosytreatment may also require a specialized footwear, casts and reconstructivesurgery.


In some cases, patientsmay go through the after treatment reaction, which may include a worsening ofthe leprosy rash, fever, swollen joints and lymph nodes, and painfulinflammations. Leprosy reactionsdiffer; they can appear as mild and not very obvious symptoms, and if that isthe case, then, it can be treated with over-the-counter antibiotics. Otherwise,serious reactions requires a physician. After the leprosy treatment, patientsare free of bacteria. But, some signs of leprosy such as skin lesions can benoticed. In the world, there are 2-3 millions of people who have ended the leprosytreatment, but they still have residual disabilities. So, thanks to theantibiotics, the treatment of leprosy is not as difficult as it was in the pastcenturies. In this modern world, we have some new disease that we have to fightagainst and find causes and cures for them.

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