Hansen's Disease in the United States.Soc Sci Med. 1982; 16(9):997-1004.SS
This article offers a general overview of Hansen's Disease (leprosy) and examines in some detail the spatial characteristics and demographic profiles of known sufferers. Over the years the pejorative labels attached to the disease and the societal and psychological attitudes which produce and accompany them have stigmatized leprosy sufferers. Unfortunately this stigma has often pre-empted rational understanding and treatment. Contrary to popular belief, leprosy, caused by the bacteriological agent Mycobacterium leprae, is relatively non-contagious and can be rendered completely non-contagious by chemotherapy. Incidence rates in the United States are extremely low (0.08 per 100,000 in 1979), but have shown a slight if erratic increase since 1942. Most of this can be attributed to increases in the number of foreign born cases; a result of immigration from areas of higher incidence (e.g. Southeast Asia, Latin America). Six states, California, Texas, Hawaii, New York, Florida, and Louisiana accounted for over 80% of the 1432 cases reported in the United States between 1967 and 1976.