Lepromatous leprosy

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Lepromatous leprosy
Classification and external resources
ICD-10 A30.5
ICD-9 030.0
DiseasesDB 8478

Lepromatous leprosy is a skin condition consisting of pale macules.[1]:346

It results from the failure of Th1 cell activation which is necessary to eradicate the mycobacteria (Th1 response is required to activate macrophages that engulf and contain the disease). In lepromatous leprosy, TH2 response is turned on, and because of reciprocal inhibition (IL-4; IL-10), the cell-mediated response (TH1) is depressed.

This debilitating form of leprosy begins to spread causing the eyebrows to disappear and spongy tumor like swellings appear on the face and body. The disease attacks the internal organs, bones, joints and marrow of the body resulting in physical degeneration. The result is deformity with loss of feeling in the fingers and toes which eventually fall off. Contrary to popular belief, both forms of leprosy are curable, with the lepromatous form classically treated with antibiotics Dapsone, Rifampin and Clofazimine for as long as 2-5 years, but if left untreated the person may die up to 20 or 30 years from its inception.[2]

Early detection of the disease is of utmost importance, since severe physical and neurological damage are irreversible even if cured (e.g. blindness, loss of digits/limbs/sensation). Early infection is characterized by a well demarcated, usually pale, skin lesion which has lost its hair, and there may be many of these lesions if the infection is more severe (most commonly found on the cooler parts of the body such as the elbows, knees, fingers, or scrotum, as the bacteria thrive in cooler environments). This early presentation is the same for both tuberculous and lapromatous forms of leprosy as they are a spectrum of the same disease (lapromatous being the more contagious and severe form in patients with impaired Th1 response). Disease progression is extremely slow, and signs of infection may not appear for years. [3]

Family members, and especially children, who have family members with the disease are most at risk. The disease is believed to be spread through respiratory droplets in close quarters like its relative Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and similarly requires extended exposure to an individual in most situations, so outsiders and healthcare workers are normally not infected (except with the most infective individuals such as those in the most progressed lepromatous forms, as those patients have the highest bacterial loads). [4]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ James, William D.; Berger, Timothy G.; et al. (2006). Andrews' Diseases of the Skin: clinical Dermatology. Saunders Elsevier. ISBN 0-7216-2921-0. 
  2. ^ http://www.hrsa.gov/hansensdisease/pdfs/faq.pdf.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ http://www.hrsa.gov/hansensdisease/pdfs/faq.pdf.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ http://www.hrsa.gov/hansensdisease/pdfs/faq.pdf.  Missing or empty |title= (help)