This information is provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD).
Hansen’s disease (also known as leprosy) is a rare bacterial infection that affects the skin, nerves and mucous membranes. After exposure, it may take anywhere from 2 to 10 years to develop features of the condition. Once present, common signs and symptoms include skin lesions; muscle weakness or paralysis; eye problems that may lead to blindness; nosebleeds; severe pain; and/or numbness in the hands, feet, arms and legs. Hansen’s disease is caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium leprae; however, the way in which the bacterium is transmitted (spread) is poorly understood. It appears that only about 5% of people are susceptible to the condition. Hansen’s disease is easily treated with combination antibiotics for 6 months to 2 years.
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