LEPROSY (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Sci and Tech)

News-CRUX-10     26th December 2023        

Context: The Odisha government recently declared leprosy a reportable disease in the state.


  • About: Leprosy, or Hansen’s disease, is a chronic infectious condition caused by Mycobacterium leprae.
  • Affected Areas: The disease primarily impacts the skin, peripheral nerves, mucosal surfaces of the upper respiratory tract, and the eyes.
  • Consequences of Untreated Leprosy: If left untreated, leprosy may lead to progressive and permanent disabilities.
  • Age Range: It can occur at any age, spanning from early childhood to old age.
  • Transmission

oSpread through droplets from the nose and mouth.

oProlonged, close contact over months is necessary for transmission.

oCasual contact, such as shaking hands or hugging, does not facilitate the spread.

  • Symptoms and Onset: Typically manifest 3 to 5 years after exposure, with disfiguring skin sores and nerve damage leading to loss of feeling, muscle weakness, and possible nasal issues.
  • Treatment: Curable with multidrug therapy (MDT).

National Leprosy Eradication Programme (NLEP)

  • About: It is Centrally sponsored Health Scheme under the National Health Mission.
  • Headed by: Deputy Director of Health Services (Leprosy) under the Directorate General Health Services.
  • Focus: On early case detection and providing free-of-cost, complete treatment to prevent Grade II Disability (G2D).
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