Learn more about leprosy

Leprosy, also known as Hansen’s disease, is a chronic infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae. The disease affects the skin, the peripheral nerves, mucosal surfaces of the upper respiratory tract and the eyes. Leprosy is known to occur at all ages ranging from early childhood to old age. Leprosy is curable and treatment during early stages can prevent disability.

Leprosy is transmitted via droplets, from the nose and mouth, during close and frequent contact with untreated cases.

The video below, was made by the Leprosy Mission in South Africa for the World Leprosy Day 2023, as part of their campaign “Spot it, Treat it and Stop it”.

150 years after Gerhard Armauer Hansen’s discovery of the leprosy bacillus, the disease still affects hundreds of thousands every year. In 2021 The World Health Organization’s Global Leprosy Programme launched a new strategy: Towards zero leprosy. Global leprosy (Hansen’s Disease) strategy 2021-2030. Read it here.

The WHO offers a free online OpenWHO course on leprosy, aimed at front-line health workers. In the course, you learn about the epidemiology of leprosy, suspect and refer, diagnosis and treatment, lepra reactions, prevention of disabilities and public health interventions. Read more and sign up here.