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Leprosy (cont.)

When to Seek Medical Care for Leprosy

Individuals should seek medical care for any of the following signs and symptoms, especially if they have traveled or lived in the tropics or an area where leprosy is endemic. 

  • Unexplained skin lesions or rash
  • Loss of sensation or tingling of the skin
  • Thickening of the skin
  • Muscle weakness and/or numbness in the extremities
  • Eye pain or vision changes

It is important to note that the following findings may not be apparent for months to years after exposure to M. leprae.

Occasionally during or after the treatment of leprosy with MDT, an acute inflammatory state may be induced which requires the immediate attention of a health-care professional. Prompt management is necessary to avoid potential permanent neurologic damage from the following conditions:

  • Type 1 reaction (also known as reversal reaction)
    • This reaction may lead to new skin lesions, skin redness, and swelling of existing lesions, and nerve inflammation and tenderness.
  • Type 2 reaction (also known as erythema nodosum leprosum [ENL])
    • This reaction is characterized by the appearance of inflamed painful nodules under the skin. It may be associated with fever and joint pain.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/17/2015
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