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Leprosy (cont.)

Leprosy Prognosis

  • Leprosy is a curable disease with the initiation and completion of MDT.
  • Treatment with MDT can prevent the disfigurement and neurologic disability associated with leprosy.
  • Prognosis depends on the stage of the disease at the time of diagnosis, as well as on the initiation and compliance with MDT.
  • Skin discoloration and skin damage generally persist even after treatment with MDT.
  • Progression of neurologic impairment can be limited with MDT. In general, however, there is partial or no recovery from neurologic damage already suffered (muscle weakness and loss of sensation).
  • Relapse of leprosy after treatment with MDT is rare.
  • Leprosy is only rarely fatal.
  • Patients must be educated to be aware of the signs and symptoms of relapse and disease exacerbations (type 1 and type 2 reactions).
  • Injury prevention is important to avoid chronic disability.
  • Public awareness and education campaigns are necessary for the early identification and treatment of leprosy, in addition to eliminating the social stigma and isolation associated with the disease.
  • The WHO public-health initiative has been extremely successful in working toward the elimination of leprosy worldwide. Political and economic support need to continue in order to sustain elimination and progress toward further reducing the prevalence of leprosy globally.

Medically reviewed by Robert Cox, MD; American Board of Internal Medicine with subspecialty in Infectious Disease


Davis, Charles P. "Leprosy (Hansen's Disease)." Dec. 10, 2010. <>.

Smith, Darvin Scott. "Leprosy." July 6, 2011. <>.

Switzerland. World Health Organization. "Leprosy Elimination." <>.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/17/2015
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