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World Leprosy Day– 31st January 2021 | Anzen Exports

January 30, 2021by Anzen_Exports0


Leprosy is a debilitating skin infection that has to be eradicated with proper education and early treatment. It is a chronic ailment caused by Mycobacterium leprae affecting peripheral nerves, eyes, and mucosa of the upper part of the respiratory tract. (1)

On the last Sunday of January, World Leprosy Day is celebrated, every year. It aims to raise public awareness for recognizing symptoms, taking medical help, and removing the stigma associated with this ailment. We have more than 16 million leprosy cases in the world. From 159 countries, WHO registered 208619 new cases in 2018. (2) India has more than 66% of leprosy patients in the world. (3)

Who Established World Leprosy Awareness?

Raoul Follereau, a French philanthropist, first observed World Leprosy Day in 1954. Since then, on the last Sunday of every January, people celebrating raise awareness and inspire patients to take medical help for treating this ailment.

It’s also known as Hansen’s disease after Gerhard HenrikArmauer Hansen, in 1873, discovered the bacteria M. laprae, which is responsible for the ailment. This bacteria demonstrates symptoms long after infecting. However, treatment with antibiotics in the initial stage can heal the patient. (4)

Slow but Steady Multiplication

Leprosy is caused by M.leprae bacterium, whose incubation period is 5 years, hence, it slowly multiplies. It is a rod-shaped bacillus with acid fastness property.

One may observe leprosy symptoms within a minimum of 1 year or a maximum of 20 years. Therefore, a laboratory test can only recognize the symptoms. Treatment in the initial stage prevents disability and promotes fast recovery.

Leprosy treatment is possible. The untreated condition can progress and permanently damage skin, eyes, and limbs. It is majorly found among residents of economically backward countries. (5)

Symptoms of Hansen’s disease

  • Reddish or light patches on the skin
  • Numbness on the skin patches
  • Tingling sensation or numbness in feet and palm
  • Weakness in limbs, hands, and eyelids
  • Lumps on face and earlobes
  • Burning sensation or painless wounds on feet and palm
  • Weakness in muscles
  • Enlarged protruding nerves in knees and elbow
  • Nose bleeding
  • Paralysis and curling of thumbs and fingers (6)

Types of Leprosy

Based on clinical manifestation the variation of leprosy are :

  • Paucibacillary(PB) – It manifests Pale and reddish skin with skin lesions (up to five in numbers)
  • Multibacilliary(MB )– It appears with more than five skin lesions, thickened dermis, skin infiltration, plaques, and nodules (7)

How to Diagnose?

Skin biopsy and lepromin skin test can confirm leprosy. A person with prolonged skin ulcers, facial and limb disfigurement, or eye dryness must undergo treatment for leprosy. (8)

Medicines for Treatment

Multidrug therapy (MDT) is applicable for Leprosy treatments. The MDT comprises of three main drugs:

In 2000, 16 million leprosy patients were treated with MDT and it became prevalent. The treatment with these drugs takes 6 months to treat PB & 12 months to treat MB.

World Health Organisation recommended MDT categorically for this treatment and provides the treatment free of cost, across the globe. (9)

How Does It Spread?

The bacteria of leprosy gets inflicted to a healthy person by transmission from the affected person. It enters the body through the respiratory system and gets dispersed from droplets of the nose or mouth of patients. The organism or bacteria migrates to the skin and nerves. (10)

How to Observe World Leprosy Day?

Besides raising awareness to identify symptoms, seek medical help and medicines. Furthermore, it is also necessary to overcome the myths and stigma entrenched with it.

Hence, we all have to take steps to educate ourselves and our community in order to ensure basic human rights and care to the patients suffering from this disease.

Anzen Exports, a distributor of active pharmaceutical ingredients, herbal, and nutraceutical extracts is combating diseases by supplying quality ingredients to manufacturers across the globe, including ingredients used to create the three main drugs used for leprosy treatment. For more information, connect with our team today.


Anzen Exports’ blog posts are based just on our research from cited websites. To be best informed, we advise consulting a doctor about an ingredient or medicine prior to taking it.


    1. National Health Portal
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    2. World Health Organization
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    3. Livemint
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    4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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    5. WebMD
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    6. Medical News Today
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    7. WHO
      Website –
    8. MedicineNet
      Website –
    9. WHO
      Website –,corresponds%20to%200.2%2F10%20000.
    10. National Health Portal
      Website –


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