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December 08, 2007
Leprosy was well recognized in antiquity and was often associated with social stigma. In 1873, Dr G. Hansen first identified Mycobacterium leprae as the cause for this condition, which was then named Hansen's disease. Not until the 20th century was specific treatment developed. Leprosy remains endemic to certain areas in the world, especially tropical and subtropical zones. Overall prevalence has decreased, but the reported incidence of leprosy has remained steady, even in the United States. In light of the significant morbidity associated with the disease, physicians must remain vigilant for its signs and symptoms even in developed countries, especially with increasing travel to and from endemic areas.
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