- a chronic, mildly infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae, affecting the peripheral nervous system, skin, and nasal mucosa and variously characterized by ulcerations, tubercular nodules, and loss of sensation that sometimes leads to traumatic amputation of the anesthetized part.
- pathol a chronic infectious disease occurring mainly in tropical and subtropical regions, characterized by the formation of painful inflamed nodules beneath the skin and disfigurement and wasting of affected parts, caused by the bacillus Mycobacterium lepraeAlso called: Hansen’s disease
n.1530s (earlier lepruse, mid-15c.), from leprous; see leper. First used in Coverdale Bible, where it renders Hebrew cara’ath, which apparently was a comprehensive term for skin diseases. Because of pejorative associations, the use of the word in medical context has been banned by the World Health Organization and replaced by Hansen’s disease, named for Norwegian physician Armauer Hansen (1841-1912) who in 1871 discovered the bacillus that causes it. n.
- A chronic, mildly contagious granulomatous disease of tropical and subtropical regions, caused by the bacillus Mycobacterium leprae, characterized by ulcers of the skin, bone, and viscera and leading to loss of sensation, paralysis, gangrene, and deformation. It occurs in two principal types: lepromatous and tuberculoid.Hansen’s disease
- A slowly progressive, chronic infectious disease caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium leprae, that damages nerves, skin, and mucous membranes, and can lead to loss of sensation, paralysis, gangrene, and deformity if untreated.
A chronic and infectious disease, characterized by patches of altered skin and nerve tissue (lesions) that gradually spread to cause muscle weakness, deformities, and paralysis. Some forms of antibiotics are now used to treat this disease, and plastic surgery can help correct the deformities it causes. Also called Hansen’s disease.