Leprosy, a history of social marginalization

Leprosy, a history of social marginalization

Leprosy is stigmatized disease oldest of all. Believe it or not, the exclusion of sufferers still persists. Know more about it.

There are diseases that are part of the social stigma , not only so that they can be unpleasant symptoms and development and apprehension and the fear they produce, but also the reasons why a person get them if they are infectious. The venereal or sexually transmitted diseases, such as syphilis href=”http://hipertextual.com/2015/10/sifilis-historia” or AIDS, are what have always been seen with worst eyes ; The reason, of course, is the sexual repression of life, that that premium abstinence against potential prophylactic means absurd asceticism. Leprosy has been with us at least 4,000 years

However, not only have an STD has stigmatized people throughout history, but also repellent or any other potentially fatal disease . And just as many religious say that AIDS is a divine punishment for href=”http://hipertextual.com/2015/06/homofobia” sin of homosexuality , as the good of Mother Teresa, who said that “AIDS is a just retribution for improper sexual conduct”, other infections have been considered escarmientos of the gods.

But in between all of them There one that takes the cake in this of the stigmatizing diseases to the point that you have probably heard a joke about it in very black mood: leprosy , which unlike syphilis or AIDS, known massively for about 500 years and thirty respectively, has been with us at least four millennia.

A body that literally falls apart


Tidarat Tiemjai – Shutterstock

Hansen bacillus responsible for leprosy , is named after the Norwegian physician Gerhard Hansen Armauer, which gave him at 1874 . But it was not until much as 2008 when a variant of bacillus was identified at the University of Texas, the lepromatosis mycobacterium , which explains its impact on countries with different climates. Leprosy causes skin sores, numbness in the extremities, neurological damage, muscle weakness, lymph and defiguramientos

This is a infectious disease with a long incubation period , and whose symptoms in shape in stains, and skin ulcers, ie skin with loss of sensitivity to even the numbness of the limbs and injuries that do not heal, neurological damage and muscle weakness; and in more severe cases of variant lepromatous and tuberculoid no considerable bumps and lumps or swellings are observed, and horrible disfigurement caused by the destruction of tissues and cartilage of the nose and ears, permanent nerve damage arms and legs and irreversible deprivation of skin sensitivity.

The infection occurs only when a person transmitting leprosy maintains a continued physical contact with another long genetically predisposed to get it . This is because not all patients exert as infectious agents, spreading bacilli, since most of the population is immune. So far we have identified five genes that cause the lack of resistance to disease, and children are more likely than adults to be infected. Not all leprosy patients are infectious and most population is immune to his bacilli

When we finally leave behind useless rituals and specific prayers and we decided to find out the real causes of leprosy and seek a cure, they began to try on several remedies, such as those based on oil or chaulmogra ginocandia , including antileprol capsules href=”http://hipertextual.com/tag/bayer” Bayer , 1908, gold and potassium iodide, or localized to necrotic skin lesions with potassium hydroxide, camphor, carbolic acid, caustic paste unna, pyrogallol, ichthyol, dry ice and thermocautery.


prevention campaign leprosy Ladakh, India – Pcruciatti, Shutterstock

All this was torture for patients, both because of side effects such as discomfort in the application of some treatments. In addition, leprosy is combining the antibiotics dapsone, rifampicin and clofazimine none of them were as effective as it was then using dapsone sulfone is, antibiotic synthesized by German Emil Jacob Fromm and Wittmann in 1908 and applied since 1937 , and its derivatives, despite the existence of some resistant strains of the bacteria and, especially, Venezuelan vaccine Dr. Jacinto Convit , which he won mycrobacilum leprae, Hansen’s bacillus, and mixed with Calmette-Guerin or BCG vaccine tuberculosis, 1973 .

At present, apart from preventing injections of the vaccine, the disease is combining the antibiotics dapsone rifampicin and clofazimine from the eighties of the last century.

The disease of the Damned

In the Bible, the same God who sent claims to be leprosy, called ” unclean “to those who suffer and ordered his public humiliation :” And the leper in whom the plague he would wear torn clothes, bareheaded, and muffled should proclaim, “I’m unclean! I’m unclean! “”. And in the Sushruta Samhita, Sanskrit text attributed to one of the initiators of the aiurvédica pseudomedicina, the Indian Sushruta, including some considerations According to WHO, in 2013 more than 200,000 new cases were reported of the disease in 103 countries wrong about it, notes the following: “The sages say that sometimes a man is cursed with disease-through divine retribution for killing a priest (Brahmin), a wife or family, and for having committed acts of wickedness. Leprosy will attack in his next birth to a man if died of leprosy. “

During the Middle Ages, lepers were holding so-called tablets of St. Lazarus, patron of these sick, that when hitting each other warned that they would go through somewhere. It is important to understand that even in the nineteenth century the cause of leprosy was unknown and, as we have seen, it was not available for a truly effective treatment until several decades after the beginning of XX: there was no help for it, and all we came away with was infected the rest of the population in settlements outside cities or leprosy .


abandoned leper colony on Spinalonga fort of Crete (Greece) – Nfoto, Shutterstock

These persist in fourteen countries around the world at least, including Argentina, Brazil, Dominican Republic and Spain, whose Fontilles sanatorium is the only one left in Western Europe. For you have the idea that leprosy is a disease of the past but, however they might be practically and in developed countries, is not it : according to WHO, in 2013 more than 200,000 new cases of the disease were reported in 103 countries, with some endemic foci on particularly in Africa, and yet it has been eliminated in 119 of the 122 countries that had as a public health problem in 1985. There is no sense in detaining leprosy patients because first which makes treatment is to cut transmission root

social exclusion of patients in endemic foci still persist, but there is no sense in detaining leprosy patients, leprocomios or infirmaries, not only by the special and prolonged conditions that must occur to infect other people, not only because often been confused with leprosy sufferers to syphilis, which is far more contagious , but because Moreover, if they are in treatment they are unable to do so: the first thing is to cut this root transmission. That said, I think to recall the appointment of Jack London Laura Prieto and Miguel de Górgolas, Medical Division of Infectious Diseases, University Hospital of the Autonomous University of Madrid, have good recall the story Koolau, the leper , published in 1909: “The disease is not our fault. We have not sinned. ” Of course not .


Leprosy, a history of social marginalization
Source: english  
January 5, 2016

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