Hansen disease
Leprosy, a chronic granulomatous infection caused by a bacillus which affects various parts of the body, including particularly the skin and nerves. (Granulomas are inflammatory nodules that are usually small, granular, firm, and persistent.) The bacillus responsible for leprosy is called Mycobacterium leprae. (Mycobacterium leprae is an obligate parasite that has to live within cells. There it is able to withstand the onslaught of enzymes and other forces by virtue of possessing a peculiarly resistant waxy coat and thanks also to its association with lowered cellular immunity.) For thousands of years, leprosy was one of the world’s most feared communicable diseases, because the skin and nerve damage often led to terrible disfigurement and disability. (In ancient sources such as the Bible, the term "leprosy" was used to describe various cutaneous diseases, especially those of a chronic or contagious nature probably including psoriasis.) The classic clinical form of leprosy is called anesthetic leprosy. It chiefly affects nerves. The condition is marked initially by hyperesthesia (excess sensation) succeeded by anesthesia (lack of feeling) and by paralysis, ulceration, and various other problems, ending horribly in gangrene and self-mutilation. India accounts for almost four-fifths (nearly 80%) of all cases of leprosy in the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) recorded 800,000 new leprosy patients around the world during the year 1998- 99. Half of the world's leprosy cases are now found in the five Indian states of Bihar, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa. Today leprosy can be cured, particularly if treatment is begun early. The treatment of choice is a multidrug therapy (MDT) using diaphenylsulfone (brand name: Dapsone), rifampicin (brand name: Rifadin), and clofazimine (brand name: Lamprene). Surgery can reconstruct damaged faces and limbs. Leprosy is called Hansen's disease and the germ responsible for it is Hansen's bacillus, named in honor of a Norwegian physician, Gerhard A. Hansen (1841-1912). The word "leprosy" comes from the Greek "lepros" meaning scaly. Only people and the nine-banded armadillo are susceptible to leprosy.

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leprosy.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Hansen disease — n. Hansen s disease, leprosy (named after Gerhard A.Hansen who first identified the leprosy microbe in 1873) …   English contemporary dictionary

  • disease — diseasedly, adv. diseasedness, n. /di zeez /, n., v., diseased, diseasing. n. 1. a disordered or incorrectly functioning organ, part, structure, or system of the body resulting from the effect of genetic or developmental errors, infection,… …   Universalium

  • Hansen — Hansen, is a Danish patronymic surname, literally meaning son of Hans . It is the third most common surname in Denmark, shared by about 4,3% of the population [ [http://www.dst.dk/Statistik/Navne/pop/2008.aspx] Statistics Denmark] . It is also… …   Wikipedia

  • Hansen's disease — [han′sənz] n. [after A. Hansen (1841 1912), Norw physician who discovered its causative bacterium] technical term for LEPROSY …   English World dictionary

  • Hansen's disease — n LEPROSY * * * see leprosy …   Medical dictionary

  • Disease, Hansen — Leprosy, a chronic granulomatous infection caused by a bacillus which affects various parts of the body, including particularly the skin and nerves. Granulomas are inflammatory nodules that are usually small, granular, firm, and persistent. The… …   Medical dictionary

  • disease — I (New American Roget s College Thesaurus) Condition of ill health Nouns 1. disease, illness, sickness, ailment, ailing; morbidity, infirmity, ailment, indisposition; complaint, disorder, malady; functional disorder. 2. condition, affliction,… …   English dictionary for students

  • Hansen bacillus disease — Han·sen bacillus, disease (hahnґsən) [Gerhard Henrik Armauer Hansen, Norwegian physician, 1841–1912] see Mycobacterium leprae and leprosy …   Medical dictionary

  • Hansen's disease — Han′sen s disease n. pat leprosy • Etymology: 1935–40; after G. H. Hansen (1841–1912), Norwegian physician, discoverer of leprosy causing bacterium …   From formal English to slang

  • Hansen's disease — noun Etymology: Armauer Hansen died 1912 Norwegian physician Date: 1938 leprosy …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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