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March 1977

Current Concepts in the Immunology of Leprosy

Author Affiliations

From the Section of Dermatology, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Southern California School of Medicine, Los Angeles (Dr Rea), and the Department of Dermatology, Los Angeles County-University of Southern California Medical Center, Los Angeles (Dr Levan).

Arch Dermatol. 1977;113(3):345-352. doi:10.1001/archderm.1977.01640030091017

This the nonleprologist with current immunologic concepts of leprosy and with the data that support these concepts. For further reading, the reviews by Rees,1 Wager,2 Turk and Bryceson,3 Bullock,4 Skinsnes,5 Convit and Ulrich,6 and a memoranda sponsored by the World Health Organization7 are recommended.

CLASSIFICATION  Rabello's polar concept of leprosy8,9 and the studies of Ridley and co-workers,10-12 which were based on clinical and histological observations, have been pivotal in the formation of current ideas concerning immunologic mechanisms in the pathogenesis of leprosy. Ridley and co-workers10-12 have provided nomenclature, in the form of a system of diagnostic classification, that is fundamental to most current immunological investigations.For those readers who are not conversant with the classification of leprosy, two analogies may be helpful. Leprosy is likened to a salami that can be taken as a whole or sliced, either thickly or

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