Leprosy is believed to be one of the oldest recorded diseases, with references dating back to Biblical times and medical evidence from skeletons indicating it originated in India in around 2000 BC. Leprosy is a chronic disease caused by a bacillus, Mycobacterium leprae, an acid-fast, rod-shaped bacillus. M. leprae multiplies very slowly and the incubation period of the disease is about five years. Symptoms can take as long as 20 years to appear. Leprosy is not highly infectious. It is transmitted via droplets, from the nose and mouth, during close and frequent contacts with untreated cases. Untreated, leprosy can cause progressive and permanent damage to the skin, nerves, limbs and eyes. Early diagnosis and treatment with Multidrug Therapy (MDT) remains the key in eliminating the disease as a public health concern, as per the World Health Organization.
Last date updated on June, 2014