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Diseases

Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

Hansen's disease


Other Names for this Disease
  • Leprosy
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Overview

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.[1][2][3]
Last updated: 4/26/2015

References

  1. Hansen's Disease (Leprosy). Center for Disease Control and Prevention. April 2013; http://www.cdc.gov/leprosy/index.html.
  2. Leprosy. MedlinePlus. September 2013; http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001347.htm.
  3. Leprosy (Hansen's Disease). National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases. September 2013; http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/leprosy/Pages/Default.aspx.
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Basic Information

  • You can obtain information on this topic from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC is recognized as the lead federal agency for developing and applying disease prevention and control, environmental health, and health promotion and education activities designed to improve the health of the people of the United States.
  • MedlinePlus was designed by the National Library of Medicine to help you research your health questions, and it provides more information about this topic.
  • The Merck Manuals Online Medical Library provides information on this condition for patients and caregivers. 
  • The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) supports scientists developing better ways to diagnose, treat, and prevent the many infectious, immunologic, and allergic diseases that afflict people worldwide. Click on the link to view information on this topic. 
  • The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) is a federation of more than 130 nonprofit voluntary health organizations serving people with rare disorders. Click on the link to view information on this topic.

In Depth Information

  • Medscape Reference provides information on this topic. You may need to register to view the medical textbook, but registration is free.
  • The Merck Manual for health care professionals provides information on Hansen's disease.
  • MeSH® (Medical Subject Headings) is a terminology tool used by the National Library of Medicine. Click on the link to view information on this topic.
  • Orphanet is a European reference portal for information on rare diseases and orphan drugs.  Access to this database is free of charge.
  • PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Hansen's disease. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.
Other Names for this Disease
  • Leprosy
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.