A very dreaded disease mentioned a lot in the Holy bible is Leprosy. This was and still is one of the most dreaded diseases all over the globe, because of the major possibility of disfiguration that is attached to it. Leprosy basically is a skin disease initiated by the multiplication of the mycobacterium leprae. This was considered as an untouchable disease but the truth is it does not spread by mere physical touch, regular, frequent and close contact of respiratory secretion is the way this disease becomes contagious.
The symptoms of this disease are in most cases seen at a stage that is quite late because of which the treatment is much delayed and the patient has to suffer severely. The inability of these bacteria to multiply quickly is the cause behind the delay of this, what seems to be a small rash of a tad bit different shade than the normal skin tones of the person, initially. Lack of diagnosis and treatment on time makes the conditions worse by increasing the size of the rash and may be ultimately turning into a lump, culminating into the deformity of the body parts like feet or hands or even the face.
The people affected by this disease were and, are a rejected section of the society, where people prefer to stay away from such patients, and in the ancient times, it was so much so that the patients were even driven out of the city gates. But the missionaries of Gospel for Asia do not have any kind of hesitation in taking care of these patients. This group of volunteers and trained missionaries founded by Dr. KP Yohannan have no inhibitions attached to giving service to these patients.
Leprosy is classified on the basis of how a patient’s immune system responds to it. If there is a good response of the immune system and there are very few lesions then it is known as tuberculoid leprosy; however, if the response is bad and the skin is largely affected, then it called the lepromatous leprosy. This is a more contagious type with more number of lesions and nodules.
The WHO again has a different criterion for classification of Leprosy. They say when five or fewer lesions in a particular area of the skin is seen it is known as paucibacillary leprosy; while when there a lot of lesions and bacteria can be detected in the skin smear it is called multibacillary leprosy.
There is also a Ridley-Jopling system to define the kind of leprosy. In this the severity of the symptoms are the basis of classification, and there are six such classifications – the intermediate, the tuberculoid, the borderline tuberculoid, the mid-borderline, the borderline lepromatous and the lepromatous leprosy.
No matter what the type of leprosy and how contagious it is , the volunteers of the KP Yohannan foundation GFA or Gospel for Asia are in no way short of enthusiasm and dedication for these unfortunate people in need.