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Leprosy (cont.)

Leprosy Diagnosis

The diagnosis of leprosy is often established from the patient's clinical signs and symptoms. A careful skin exam and neurologic exam will be undertaken by a health-care professional. If a laboratory is available, skin smears or skin biopsies may be obtained for a more definitive diagnosis. Skin smears or biopsy material that show acid-fast bacilli with the Ziel-Neelsen stain or the Fite stain can diagnose multibacillary leprosy. If bacteria are absent, paucibacillary leprosy can be diagnosed. Other less commonly used tests include blood exams, nasal smears, and nerve biopsies. Specialized tests can be done to place the patient in the more detailed Ridley-Jopling classification.

Self-Care at Home for Leprosy

Prescribed antibiotics medications are the primary treatment for leprosy. Compliance with the full course of antibiotics is crucial to successful treatment.

Patients should also be educated to closely inspect their hands and feet for possible injuries sustained which may go unnoticed because of the loss of sensation.

  • Ulcers or tissue damage can result, leading to skin infections and disability.
  • Proper footwear and injury prevention should be encouraged.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/17/2015
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