Leprosy is a chronic infective disease that originates from the presence of pathogen agent Mycobacterium leprae. Mycobacterium leprae was discovered by the Norwegian doctor Gerhard Henrik Armauer Hansen in 1873. For the zoonotic transmission of M. leprae in the US the responsible insects are armadillos (Dasypus novemcinctus). M. leprae is an intracellular microorganism leading to loss of sensibility, innervation, intraepidermal impairment and lesions due to the absence of myelin in Schwann cells. Mycobacterium leprae has high infectivity and low pathogenicity. Incubation period is from 2 to 7 years. Leprosy is an infectious neurodegenerative disorder of the peripheral nervous system. Leprosy is the major cause of human disability due to neurological damage. Leprosy still represents one of the major causes of disabilities in humans. The most common complications are muscle weakness leading to atrophy, bone loss, amputations and blindness. In the case of chronic cutaneous hyperalgesia, there is a local increase in NGF levels. The application of anti-NGF antibodies may be of benefit in treating hyperalgesia in patients with neuropathy and impaired nerve endings. If combined, NGF, NT-3 and glial cell-line derived neurotrophic factor may be sustainable. In over 90% of human individuals an overall genetic resistance has been noted.
Part of the book: Pathogenic Bacteria