©2018 WebMD, Inc. All rights reserved. eMedicineHealth does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. See Additional Information.

Bacterial Skin Infections

Picture of Lepromatous Leprosy

Picture of Lepromatous Leprosy

Leprosy (Hansen's disease) is a chronic infectious disease caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium leprae. Nearly 215,000 new cases of leprosy were reported worldwide in 2014. Leprosy is curable with multidrug therapy (MDT).

Leprosy manifests itself in many ways depending on how strong an infected person's T-cell immunity to leprosy may be. Lepromatous leprosy (LL leprosy), as shown in this photo, affects people with the lowest T-cell immunity. LL leprosy allows large numbers of organisms to develop in the skin. Those who suffer from LL leprosy have many skin lesions that are slightly lighter than the surrounding skin.

Image Source: Color Atlas of Pediatric Dermatology Samuel Weinberg, Neil S. Prose, Leonard Kristal Copyright 2008, 1998, 1990, 1975, by the McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

Text References: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases: "Leprosy (Hansen’s Disease)"

World Health Organization: "Leprosy"

Kuby Immunology, 6th edition: "Immune Effector Mechanisms"