Hansen’s disease is a chronic infection caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium leprae.
In the past, it was called Leprosy, but now, it is called Hansen’s disease, taking the name of the Norwegian doctor, G.H.A. Hansen. In 1873, Dr. Hansen discovered the bacteria Mycobacterium leprae and identified it as the cause of the disease.
Even if a person has the disease, the symptoms do not worsen drastically. Initial symptoms are rash and stupor.
If not cured, this disease can cause physical malformations, and strong aftereffects might sometimes remain.
The physical malformations were the main reason for the social discrimination of the Hansen’s disease patients.
Nowadays, effective medication has been developed, and Hansen’s disease can be completely cured by early detection and appropriate treatment. There are currently only a few cases of infected patients in Japan.
It is certain now that the Hansen’s disease is not hereditary.