Now and Then
In the past centuries leprosy was a deadly disease and every person that had this disease was taken far away from the rest of the community and left to die. Leprosy was a widespread disease and since it was easy to be infected, all the people tried to avoid any contact with the one who was leprosy infected. Many people died from it. Nowadays, leprosy is treated with antibiotics that kill the mycobacterium leprae, a bacteria causing leprosy. A combination of three medicines must be used and these medicines are rifampin, dapsone and clofazimine. It is important to start the treatment at the beginning, so that any long-term consequences could be avoided.
It depends upon the form of the leprosy how long the treatment will last. In the case of tiberculoid leprosy, a treatment lasts one year, and in the case of lepromatous leprosy, it lasts two years. A small percentage of people remain uncured after the treatment. These three antibiotics are the most commonly used in the leprosy treatment, but the practice has proved that other antibiotics such as clarithromycin, ofloxacin, levofloxacin, and minocycline give good results in the treatment of this disease as well. The leprosy treatment is free 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 also important. So, one should not hesitate to visit orthopedic surgeons, eye doctors and physical therapists. A patient who has undergone a leprosy treatment may also require a specialized footwear, casts and reconstructivesurgery.
In some cases, patientsmay go through the after treatment reaction, which may include a worsening of the leprosy rash, fever, swollen joints and lymph nodes, and painfulinflammations. Leprosy reactions differ; they can appear as mild and not very obvious symptoms, and if that is the case, then, it can be treated with over-the-counter antibiotics. Otherwise, serious reactions requires a physician. After the leprosy treatment, patients are free of bacteria. But, some signs of leprosy such as skin lesions can be noticed. In the world, there are 2-3 millions of people who have ended the leprosy treatment, but they still have residual disabilities. So, thanks to the antibiotics, the treatment of leprosy is not as difficult as it was in the past centuries. In this modern world, we have some new disease that we have to fight against and find causes and cures for them.