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Leprosy in Costa Rica?

Costa Rica Health News – Leprosy? It is alive and well as there are four confirmed cases of it in Costa Rica. Today, about 180,000 people worldwide are infected with leprosy, according to the World Health Organization, most of them in Africa and Asia. 

leprosy-multiple-lessionThe outbreak is on the Osa Peninsula, in Puntarenas. Those affected are devastated, because of the symptoms and the social stigma that they suffer. It’s been handled quietly but has happened in the past. In fact, from 1995-2011, there were 96 cases in the country.

In case you haven’t read the Bible or heard of these hidden cases, leprosy is a terrible skin disease. It causes either ulcers or large bumps, depending on the variation of the disease.

The treatment is intense and can last 2 years. The treatment involves 3 drugs and an annual cost of $7,000. The Costa Rican Social Security doesn’t pay for this, as they get the treatment donated from the World Health Organization.

All four of the current patients are now at home and have daily visits from CCSS personnel who administer medicines. The good news is that today leprosy is curable and the affected do not need to be separated from loved ones.

Leprosy is caused by Mycobacterium leprae, a slow-growing bacillus that is an obligate parasite with a tropism for peripheral nerves, skin, and mucous membranes in the cooler parts of the body, such as the upper respiratory tract, anterior chamber of the eye, and the testes.

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