A chronic, curable infectious disease mainly causing skin lesions and nerve damage.
Leprosy is caused by infection with the bacterium Mycobacterium leprae. It mainly affects the skin, eyes, nose and peripheral nerves.
Symptoms include light-coloured or red skin patches with reduced sensation, numbness and weakness in hands and feet.
Scientists have learned that to catch leprosy, a healthy person must have months of close contact with someone who has leprosy. It’s believed that the disease spreads when a person who has leprosy coughs or sneezes. When a healthy person repeatedly breathes in the infected droplets, this may spread the disease.