Navigation Links
Forgotten, but not gone: Leprosy still present in the US
Date:11/7/2008

Long believed to be a disease of biblical times, leprosy, also known as Hansen's disease, continues to be seen in the United States. "Approximately 150 cases are diagnosed each year with 3,000 people in the U.S. currently being treated for leprosy, says James Krahenbuhl, Ph.D., director of the Health Resources Service Administration's National Hansen's Disease Program (NHDP) in Baton Rouge, LA. "We believe there are more cases of leprosy not identified due to the lack of awareness about the disease among physicians in the U.S., which is leading to misdiagnosis and wrong treatments for patients who are left to suffer with the debilitating damage caused by this disease."

Although researchers do not clearly understand how leprosy is transmitted, they do know that it is a slow, chronic disease that attacks the peripheral nervous system and motor skills often leading to disability and disfigurement. According to the NHDP, the onset of infection and symptoms can take three to 10 years, making it difficult for researchers to find the origin of where or how people acquire the disease. As the disease progresses, patients lose their sense of touch in their fingers and toes leaving them open to repeated burns and cuts which then get infected. The effects of repeated damage will initiate bone absorption and motor nerve deterioration causing fingers to shorten and curve, resulting in a claw-like appearance. Although leprosy can be fully treated with medicine when diagnosed in early stages, once the disease has advanced nerve damage cannot be reversed.

Because many of the population in the U.S. affected by leprosy are immigrants in poor communities who primarily seek treatment in free clinics or emergency rooms, the NHDP says that many of those physicians are not familiar with the disease to make an accurate diagnosis. Therefore, many physicians mistake the skin lesions of leprosy for a fungus or ringworm and treat it with a topical cream. And, because leprosy is a slow-progressing disease, it can take months, if not longer, before the doctor or the patient realizes that the treatment isn't working giving the disease enough time to start destroying the nervous system.

Leprosy is most prevalent in the tropics and third world countries where there are poor living conditions and limited access to medical care. Due to changes in immigrant relocation, leprosy is now being diagnosed throughout the U.S. The NHDP sees approximately 30 cases each year among residents in southern Louisiana and the Gulf Coast of Texas who were born in the U.S. and who have never visited an endemic country. "As we see leprosy move toward internal regions of the States, it becomes more urgent to reach those physicians to let them know about the symptoms of this disease," explains Dr. Krahenbuhl. Dr. James Krahenbuhl will lead a symposium at the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene meeting to raise awareness among physicians that leprosy is in the U.S. and assistance and treatments are available.


'/>"/>

Contact: Rosalind D'Eugenio
rdeugenio@environics-usa.com
203-325-8772
American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. New York Community Trust Awards Grant of $100,000 to Infectious Disease Research Institute for Early Detection Leprosy Tests
2. There's Still Time to Ensure Your Turkey Neck Doesn't Make an Appearance at Thanksgiving Dinner Thanks to Innovative Tuliplift
3. U.S. Experts Still Unsure of Allergy Relief by Mouth
4. Cholesterol-lowering drugs may also lower PSA, but whether they cut cancer risk is still not known
5. Social Security 2009 COLA Helps, But People with Disabilities Will Still Struggle, Says Allsup
6. Americans Place High Value on Eyesight, Yet Many Still Lack Vision Coverage
7. Role of Circumcision in Reducing HIV Risk Still Unclear
8. Patients in Minimally Conscious State May Still Feel Pain
9. Safety Threat to Rochester Still Remains Despite Approval Of Canadian Pacifics Railroad Acquisition Of DM&E
10. Kabul Under Virtual Lockdown for International Travelers, Progress Still Evident for Women's Programs
11. Big Tobaccos Grip on Colleges and Students Loosens, But Still Holding Strong: New Report Examines Trends on Campuses
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... ... communities in the greater Dallas, Miami, and Raleigh regions, is organizing an extended ... overcome a rare and deadly chromosome abnormality. , After struggling since birth with ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... 13, 2017 , ... The International Association of Eating Disorders ... for the field of eating disorders, announces the opening of early registration for ... Florida at the Omni Resort at ChampionsGate. , The annual iaedp™ ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2017 , ... Many families ... However, many long-term care insurance companies have a waiver for care if the client ... elimination period, when the family pays for care, is often waived, so the benefits ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... Talented host, actor ... on sciatica in a new episode of "Success Files," which is an award-winning ... innovation and investigates each subject in-depth with passion and integrity. , Sciatica occurs ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... CitiDent and ... apnea using cutting-edge Oventus O2Vent technology. As many as 18 million Americans ... frequent cessation in breathing. Oral appliances can offer significant relief to about 75 ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:9/27/2017)... 27, 2017  Commended for their devotion to personalized service, ... as number one in the South Florida Business Journal,s 50 ... 5000 yearly list, the national specialty pharmacy has found its ... will soon be honored by SFBJ as the 2017 ... Set to receive his award in October, Bardisa said ...
(Date:9/25/2017)... 2017  EpiVax, Inc., a leader in the ... today announced the launch of EpiVax Oncology Inc., ... therapeutic cancer vaccines. EpiVax has provided $500,000 in ... enabling technologies to the new precision immunotherapy venture. ... Oncology as Chief Executive Officer. Gad brings over ...
(Date:9/22/2017)... , Sept. 22, 2017 AVACEN Medical (AVACEN) ... is now successfully helping those with the widespread pain ... Fibromyalgia diagnosed Amanda in Essex, England ... washing my hair, experiencing no sleep at all, tremendous ... spasm… I cannot recommend [the AVACEN 100] enough, how ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: