Hansen's Disease

The medieval disease believed to be abolished.

By: Regan McKay

Hansen's Disease, also known as Leprosy, is a disease caused by bacteria called Mycobacterium that is often found in different types of water and soil. Hansen's usually effects your skin and the nerves outside your brain and spinal cord. The disease causes pale-colored disfiguring skin sores, lumps, or bumps that do not go away for several weeks, or even months. It usually takes about 3-5 years after contact with the mycobacterium to find symptoms of leprosy, so it can be hard to tell if you have it before it attacks.

Hansen's Disease can be a very contagious disease. You can catch it from a person who has the disease, or from the bacteria (Mycobacterium) that causes it. Hansen's Disease is very rare nowadays, and can be treated and cured easily. It is treated with antibiotics, and are usually taken for as long as six months to a year, depending on how severe it is.

Though there are not many relevant celebrities that have been diagnosed with Leprosy, there were many medieval, and even ancient references towards it. For example, in the Hebrew Bible the term "Tzaraath" is used in the place of a disease that is mostly translated into Leprosy. Spreading awareness towards Hansen's Disease is not very hard nowadays, since it is in almost every history book that references the Middle Ages. Most people do not find it of a threat anymore since it is so easily treated, and is rarely possessed.

Leprosy has very few dilemmas considering it is so simply treated. The only aggravating thing you would have to deal with if you were to be diagnosed with this disease would be having to take antibiotics for a period of time, and you might have several scars from the bumps and sores that would form on your body from the symptoms. Current research shows that the bacteria in Hansen's Disease can make you very contagious, unless treated. Luckily scientist have discovered a cure that destroys all the Mycobacterium present in your body while in treatment of the disease. The prognosis of Leprosy would be the nerves effected by the disease becoming less and less stable, if not treated. In earlier times when Leprosy was at it's finest, the main prognosis from the disease would be it becoming unbearably contagious, and destroying many people's lives.

Though there is a cure for Leprosy here in America and other wealthier countries, there are other places still victimized by the disease. My proposal is to bring the treatment from places like America to the countries that are in greater need of it. Luckily, treatment for this particular disease is not as expensive as one might think. There are many places such as the World Health Organization that provide free treatment to all people who have Hansen's Disease.