The origin of leprosy, which for centuries has been one of the most dreaded diseases, is lost in antiquity. Leprophobia is unjustified. While the disease is infectious it is not as contagious as tuberculosis, and the danger of exposure to leprosy is not great. A recent report by Faget1 of the United States Public Health Service provides arresting information on leprosy as it exists in this country.
Constructive measures were first taken against leprosy in Louisiana in 1894, when a home on an old plantation was provided for 8 patients. The old slave shacks which were used to house the first patients were eventually abandoned and replaced with new buildings. In 1920 the federal government, cognizant of the occurrence of leprosy in many of the states of the Union and recognizing the need for a home where all persons suffering with the disease might be cared for and treated,
THE NATIONAL LEPROSARIUM. JAMA. 1942;119(11):886. doi:10.1001/jama.1942.02830280032013