FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

How is my money spent?

All money raised for Leprosy outreach is spent on the people affected by Leprosy.

We support with practical daily living requirements (hygiene needs), financial assistance, empowerment programmes, educational support from primary to higher education and more…

The heart of our work is promoting basic living standards and restoring self-worth. We focus on the needs of those with leprosy.

Members of the charity, pay their own flight tickets to Nigeria and cover the cost of their own accommodation while there. We consider ourselves as a link between people who need help, the government & our donors in order to change lives.

We provide practical assistance directly to the PALs thereby cutting out the middle man.

The trustees in Nigeria graciously do the work on ground without any pay or allowance.

We hold our supporters dearly and without you we could not do this.

What is leprosy?

Leprosy is a bacterial disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae. It is sometimes called Hansen’s disease, after the Norwegian scientist who first identified the bacterium in 1873. Before Dr. Hansen’s groundbreaking work, leprosy was often thought to be the result of a curse or other supernatural causes.  In some parts of the world, superstitions like these persist, making it more difficult to treat the disease.

Which areas of the body does leprosy affect?

Leprosy primarily affects the skin, peripheral nerves, upper respiratory tract, eyes, and the lining of the nose. It has a lengthy incubation period—sometimes as long as 20 years or more—which can make it difficult to determine the source of any given infection.

How is leprosy spread?

Leprosy is spread through close and repeated contact with droplets of moisture from the nose and mouth of a person with untreated disease. After a single week of treatment, a person with leprosy is no longer contagious.

How contagious is leprosy?

Despite the great history of fear surrounding this disease, it is not highly contagious. In fact, the vast majority of the population has a natural immunity to leprosy.  Most people who do suffer from leprosy have a genetic predisposition that makes them more susceptible to contracting the disease (variation in the regulatory region shared by the genes PARK2 and PACRG).

Can leprosy be cured?

Yes. Leprosy is easily cured with a 6-12 month course of multidrug antibiotic therapy (MDT). After a single week of antibiotic treatment, a person with leprosy is no longer contagious.

Is there a vaccine?

There is no true vaccine against leprosy. However, the bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine, which was initially developed to prevent tuberculosis, offers some protection against the disease, although the magnitude of the effect varies. In addition, new tests aimed at detecting leprosy before symptoms develop and nerve damage occurs are currently being developed.

What happens if leprosy goes untreated?

Untreated leprosy causes severe damage to the nerves and the skin, especially in the hands, feet and face. It does not, however, cause digits or limbs to fall off. Nerve damage is usually permanent and results in a loss of pain response, which means that sufferers frequently injure themselves and can lose fingers, toes, and appendages due to accidentally burning, cutting, or otherwise damaging them.

Blindness can occur in several ways way: if the nerves in the face that control blinking are damaged and the eyes lose their ability to close, they will no longer be able to blink away debris and pathogens. As the corneas dry out or become infected, scarring and blindness will occur. Leprosy also can also cause inflammation of the irises, as well as glaucoma, resulting in blindness.

Can anything be done to heal deformities?

Surgery and physical therapy can help improve the function and appearance of damaged digits and limbs, and the appearance of skin often improves dramatically with antibiotic treatment. Nerve damage, however, is irreversible.

How prevalent is leprosy?

According to the World Health Organization, there were 176,176 reported cases of leprosy at the end of 2015. During the same year, 211 973 new cases were reported.

Please help if you can

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Margaret Mead

We would love to hear from you

Contact us

Leprosy Outreach, 17 Marsh View, Gravesend , Kent DA12 2LX

Registered Charity no. 1152002