What are the different types of leprosy?

Every year, leprosy (Hansen’s disease) is diagnosed in roughly 100 people in the US. A persistent granulomatous infection, leprosy is caused by the slow-growing, intracellular parasite known as Mycobacterium leprae. Peripheral nerves and the skin are its primary targets.

A wide range of clinical symptoms of leprosy exists, depending more on the immunological response of the host than on the virulence or pace of bacillus replication. It takes a long time to develop—between six months and 20 years, or two to seven years. Years or even months could pass before a clinical diagnosis is obtained. Log on to www.doralhw.org for a consultation.

Types of leprosy

There are 6 types of leprosy based on the severity of the symptoms:

  1. Intermediate or indeterminate leprosy:

This is the earliest stage of leprosy in which a person suffers from flat lesions which can heal on their own if they have strong immunity. You can experience symptoms such as a single lesion with a slight loss of sensitivity or hypopigmentation but no nerve thickening.

  • Tuberculoid leprosy:

Tuberculoid/Paucibacillary type causes mild symptoms. People develop patches of flat and pale-colored skin or have no sensation in the affected area because of nerve damage. This is less infectious than other forms and heals on its own or it might turn persistent and progress into a more severe form. Its symptoms include:

  • Few lesions which might be reddish or hypopigmented.
  • Scaling formation on the lesions.
  • Alopecia and anesthesia in the affected area due to dermal denervation.
  • Other nerves might start thickening.
  • Asymmetric and localized.
  • In areas of compression, skin shows thickening due to an increase in the keratotic areas or due to ulceration.
  • The lepromin test is strongly positive.
  • Borderline tuberculoid leprosy:

Its symptoms are quite similar to the tuberculoid variant. However, the infection might be smaller and the bacteria more in number which can continue and turn into the tuberculoid variant, or any other advanced form. Its symptoms include:

  • Having few and smaller lesions. Lesions are asymmetric, flat, and well-defined.
  • More nerves thickened although irregularly and less markedly.
  • Significant hair loss.
  • Lepromin weakly positive
  • No or few AFB in skin smear.
  • Insensitive to pain due to nerve damage.
  • Mid-borderline leprosy:

This type of leprosy is quite similar to borderline tuberculoid leprosy. However, as the disease progresses, it might regress and develop into another form. Its symptoms include:

  • Widespread lesions.
  • Lesions are annular, raised, or flat.
  • Lesions are shiny.
  • Hair growth is less over the lesion.
  • Lesions characteristic with erythema, outer, borders fading out, inner borders clear, and central hypochromic, called the foveal spot.
  • Moderate AFB in skin smear.
  • Lepromin negative.
  • Borderline leprosy:

This type of leprosy causes cutaneous skin conditions by making multiple wounds or scars including plaques, and flat, and raised bumps that may continue or regress. Its symptoms include:

  • A large number of lepromatous lesions on the body; asymmetrically distributed with normal skin in between.
  • Lesions are ring-shaped with tiny shiny surfaces.
  • Nerve thickening may or may not be present.
  • Lepromin negative.
  • Many AFB in skin smear.
  • Reduction of hair growth over lesions.
  • Slight hypoesthesia.
  • Lepromatous leprosy:

This is the most severe type of leprosy that causes many lesions with bacteria. It widely affects nerves, skin, and organs. It is more infectious and dangerous than tuberculoid leprosy which never regresses. Its symptoms include:

  • Numbness and muscle weakness.
  • Rashes.
  • Full of bumps
  • Limb weakness
  • Hair loss (especially eyebrows and eyelashes).
  • Lepromin negative
  • Edema of the limbs and hypoesthesia in advanced stages.
  • Lesions are shiny, symmetrical, and widespread.
  • AFB in skin smear or nasal secretion or scraping.
  • Orchitis and bone lesions.
  • Lesions of the mucous membranes of the upper respiratory tract and eyes.

Leprosy is an infectious disease caused by bacteria that affects skin, nerves, and mucous membranes. While it still exists today with the current advancements in medical treatment, leprosy can be cured or treated easily if detected early. So, it is important to know the symptoms of several types of leprosy so that you can get an early diagnosis and treat your condition easily.

Want to know about tests that are used to diagnose leprosy? Call us to get a consultation about your problems. If looking for a clinic or hospital for diagnosis and treatment of leprosy, you can book your appointment at our clinic for leprosy and any other infectious disease treatment. We have one of the best infectious disease specialists and medical staff to help you through your procedure. Call us on +1-347-384-5690. If you need any information on infections, log on to www.doralhw.org  get a consultation. We have the best doctors that can help you and improve your quality of life!