Leprosy, a chronic disease with characteristic lesions involving the skin and nerves, is one of the oldest diseases known to man. It is believed to have been prevalent in Egypt over 2,000 years before Christ, and its history may be traced through the Old Testament and down to the present time. The disease is widely distributed throughout the world and no nation is entirely free from it. It is estimated that there are from 1 to 4 million lepers in the world today, but the exact number is not known. It can be said, however, that leprosy constitutes a world-wide public health and social problem, and information of scientific character concerning this disease is therefore exceedingly important, for it seems paradoxical that in one of the oldest diseases recognized by man so little should be known regarding its etiologic agent, mechanism of infection, transmission, immunity and prevention.
For some time
McKINLEY EB, SOULE MH. STUDIES ON LEPROSY: EXPERIMENTAL LESIONS IN MONKEYS AND CULTIVATION OF BACILLUS LEPRAE. JAMA. 1932;98(5):361–367. doi:10.1001/jama.1932.02730310001001
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