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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 your health-care provider. 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.
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