Why we should stop using the word leprosy

Jul 30, 2020

Leprosy for the disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae should be abolished given “its use as a metaphor for all that is impure, immoral, and dreadful are still prevalent in public imagery”. Portuguese term hanseníase (Hansen's disease), adopted officially in Brazil in 1975 has helped reduce stigmatisation in Brazil in both the general public and medical professional community. The change from leprosy to Hansen's disease substitutes a word representing misconceptions with a term that honours a man guilty of abusing a patient by unethical experimentation.  Gerhard Hansen attempted to induce a nodular form of leprosy in a woman with the anaesthetic form of the disease.The neutral term mycobacterial neurodermatosis would be a better choice.The Lancet Infectious Diseases


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