Early Leprosy is a condition which is expressed as pale, anaesthetic or senseless patches on the skin, thickening of surface nerves on the face or limbs, insignificant wasting of small muscles of hand and just loss of sensation of touch without any of the above.
It is one of the most difficult of all infectious diseases to assess. It has a very slow, insidious onset. Clinical signs are insignificant and hence the incubation period is hard to tell in a population or a person. It could be anywhere between three months to forty years. It affects the human species only and they are known reservoirs. It can be completely cured at any stage by treatment specific to the condition. Existing disability that occurs is irreversible and can only be controlled either medically or surgically.
In children, the early finding is very important to prevent nerve damage and loss of function. It is easier to control this infection among children when compared to adults. Women have also been affected more by this disease. Cosmetic reasons are still strongly felt as social stigma. It is not contagious.
Picture of a school girl from Kadayampatty on 08 September, 2008. Pale patches suspicious of Hansen's(Leprosy) on face. All white patches are examined to differentiate.