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Definition of Mycobacterium leprae

Mycobacterium leprae: The bacillus responsible for leprosy (Hansen disease). Mycobacterium leprae is an obligate parasite that has to live within cells. There it is able to withstand the onslaught of enzymes and other forces by virtue of possessing a peculiarly resistant waxy coat and thanks also to its association with lowered cellular immunity. See also: Hansen disease.

Source: MedTerms™ Medical Dictionary
http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=25709
Last Editorial Review: 10/9/2012

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