A synopsis of the history of Hansen's disease.Wien Med Wochenschr. 2017 Oct; 167(Suppl 1):27-30.WM
Leprosy is a contagious infectious disease caused by the bacillus Mycobacterium leprae. This microorganism was discovered by Dr. Gerhard Hansen, and the illness was then baptized as Hansen's disease. For a long time, Hansen's disease was thought to be hereditary-a curse or a punishment from God. The disease affects skin and nerves and can cause severe damage. Due to its destructive effects, leprosy has caused fear, segregation, and prejudice in all societies since Biblical times. Patients with Hansen's disease have not been treated humanely around the world throughout the ages. This article is a summary of curious and interesting facts about the history and cultural aspects of Hansen's disease, which has chastised humanity for centuries. These facts are about the discovery of the disease, its propagation, the evolution of treatments, and the prejudice of society towards patients.