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Q. Will leprosy spread within a family?

Answered by
Dr. Suvash Sahu
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Jun 13, 2016 and last reviewed on: Apr 29, 2020

Hi doctor,

Our close family member has leprosy. Should we need to take MDT? Please explain.

#

Hi,

Welcome to icliniq.com.

I want to share few facts about leprosy.

  • Leprosy is contagious, because Mycobacterium leprae is transmitted from one person to another by droplet infection through nasal or respiratory mucosa or by direct contact in susceptible persons.
  • All persons exposed to this disease do not develop it. Specific deficiency in the cell-mediated immunity of the host towards the Mycobacterium leprae plays an important role in acquiring this infection.
  • Overcrowding, poor hygiene and inadequate housing favor the transmission of the disease by causing more intimate contact.
  • If your family member has BL (borderline lepromatous leprosy) or LL (lepromatous leprosy) type of leprosy, then chances of getting leprosy by contact are much higher than TT (tuberculoid leprosy) or BT type (borderline tuberculoid leprosy).
  • You should get slit skin smears for AFB - acid fast bacilli. Also check for the signs below.
  1. Hypoesthetic skin lesions (numb patch).
  2. Thickened peripheral nerves - cord like painful structure of your limb.
  3. Demonstration of AFB.
  • If any two of the above or a positive histopathological picture confirms the diagnosis, then you should start multidrug therapy.

For further information consult a dermatologist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/dermatologist


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