Dead Among The Living
Leprosy has been around since at least early biblical times. In the Middle Ages, those afflicted with this infectious disease were referred to as the "dead among the living." Many questions about this little-understood disease were answered in the 19th century by Gerhard Hansen, who discovered the bacterium that causes leprosy on Feb. 28, 1873. Unable to establish how the infection took place, Hansen resorted to injecting the eye of a leprous woman with bacteria from another infected person, prompting him to be taken to court and barred from further research. About 95 percent of the population is immune to the bacterium that causes leprosy, though it continues to affect an estimated 10 to 15 million people today, mainly in Southeast Asia, Africa and Latin America.
Copyright Aetna InteliHealth, Inc., 2012. All rights reserved.