Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Hansen's Disease (leprosy) Term Paper Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 1000 words

Hansen's Disease (leprosy) - Term Paper Example The oldest civilizations of China, Egypt and India were among the first to have documentation of a disease quite similar to leprosy, forcing scholars, doctors and scientists alike to assume that that was what the disease actually was. However, leprosy today is not what people had to deal with thousands of years ago. Due to the lack of medical attention, leprosy was more common and severe, causing infected people to be forced into separate leprosy colonies. Before our common era, leprosy was feared due to people believing that it was a curse or a punishment from God. Many infected people saw death sooner than they should have because they were killed for having the infection, as people did not want them spreading the curse or punishment around. â€Å"In Europe during the Middle Ages, leprosy sufferers had to wear special clothing, ring bells to warn others that they were close, and even walk on a particular side of the road, depending on the direction of the wind (Mallac, 2001).† However, due to how contagious the disease is, patients were treated similarly in more modern times, though this was out of concern for others developing the disease. Special hospitals were created solely for patients suffering from leprosy. It was in 1873 that Henrik Armeuer Hansen, a doctor from Norway, first identified under a microscope the germ that causes leprosy, which is how leprosy received its formal name. This germ is mycobacterium leprae, and was the first bit of proof that leprosy was indeed caused by a germ, and not by a curse or from sinning. After this discovery, doctors and scientists set to work to discover cures and treatments for leprosy. Before the 1940s, leprosy patients were treated with oil from the chaulmoogra nut. Some patients benefited from the painful treatment, but very little was known about the long term effects. Between the 1920s and the 1970s, numerous medical breakthroughs took place in regard to discovering medication for leprosy

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