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January 1965

Lepromatous Hansen's Disease in a Suburban Community

Author Affiliations


From the departments of dermatology and pathology, The Mercer Hospital.

Arch Intern Med. 1965;115(1):73-77. doi:10.1001/archinte.1965.03860130075013

CONTEMPORARY American physicians must realize that the medical problems of Central American countries may be presented to them for diagnosis with an increasing frequency. Such an opportunity was presented to us with the accompanying problems in diagnosis, therapy, and convalescence. How these problems were answered constitutes the basis of the attached report concerning a case of lepromatous Hansen's disease recognized in a suburban community. The reported case drew our attention to two other cases within a 30-mile radius; the cases having originated from the geographical areas of Costa Rica, India, and Puerto Rico. Our patient had been under medical observation for seven years, during which time she had lived with two families, coming into intimate contact with five children. A lepra reaction was exacerbated following initial therapy with dapsone (diaminodiphenylsulfone, DDS). The patient's skin lesions showed profuse numbers of acid-fast organisms. A decision to administer BCG vaccine to the exposed

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