How to get Leprosy
Leprosy is a contagious disease, but it is not highly infectious. You cannot get leprosy by casual contact with someone who has the disease. It is not spread through the air or by touching objects that have been touched by someone with leprosy. You can only get leprosy by prolonged and close contact with an infected person. Leprosy is more common in tropical and subtropical areas, and it is more prevalent in developing countries.
What Causes Leprosy
Leprosy is caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium leprae. The bacteria primarily infect the skin and nerves and can take years to develop into symptoms. It is still not entirely clear why some people develop symptoms while others do not. However, it is known that people with weakened immune systems are more susceptible to the disease.
How Leprosy is Transmitted
Leprosy is transmitted through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The disease can also be transmitted through close contact with an infected person’s nasal secretions. Molecular examinations of nonhuman samples, water, and soils have suggested that wildlife and the environment are potential sources of leprosy. For example, evidence has accumulated that the nine-banded armadillo, Dasypus novemcinctus, is a source of infection and transmits leprosy to people that come in contact with the animal. However, leprosy is not highly contagious, and it takes prolonged and close contact with an infected person to get the disease. It is also not spread through sexual contact.
Hereditary/Genetic Aspects of Leprosy
Leprosy is not directly hereditary or genetic. However, studies have shown that some people may have a genetic predisposition to the disease. People with a particular genetic makeup may be more susceptible to leprosy than others. A study conducted in 2009 found that people with a genetic variation in the gene NRAMP1 were more susceptible to leprosy. However, having the genetic variation alone does not mean that a person will develop the disease. It is a combination of genetic factors and environmental factors that can lead to the development of leprosy.
In conclusion, leprosy is a contagious disease caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium leprae. It is transmitted through prolonged and close contact with an infected person and is not highly infectious. Leprosy is not directly hereditary or genetic, but some people may have a genetic predisposition to the disease. Early diagnosis and treatment of leprosy can prevent severe disabilities and deformities. If you suspect you may have leprosy, seek medical attention immediately.