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The World in Medicine
March 12, 2003

Genetic Susceptibility to Leprosy Infection

JAMA. 2003;289(10):1234. doi:10.1001/jama.289.10.1234-a

Some people who are exposed to Mycobacterium leprae develop a single, self-healing skin lesion. But in others, the infection can develop into a noninfectious (paucibacillary) form, involving few lesions with no detectable M leprae, or an infectious form, featuring numerous lesions with readily detectable levels of the pathogen. Contributing to these varied outcomes, researchers believe, are genetic differences in those exposed to the bacteria that determine their vulnerability to infection and how the disease is manifested.

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