Leprosy is a biblical disease in which bacteria called Mycobacterium leprae damages the patient’s nerves; and causing the fingers, toes and limbs to go numb, leading to further injuries. Leprosy is treating with antibiotics, but some patients suffer antigen reaction and need long-term rehabilitation.
As revolutionary treatment for open wounds has dramatically reduced the healing period of leprosy patients in Nepal, saving them money and prolonged pain. The new procedure has huge implications internationally, as it reduces the medical cost for treating patients with chronic open wounds.
Treatment with antibiotics
Every week, doctors draw 80cc of blood from her and place it in a special centrifuge for 12 minutes. The clear plasma separating from the red corpuscles; and is compressing to form a high-density fibrin clot which is applying to her wound. The hospital’s LPRF pilot study has shown that 97% of the cases healed completely within seven weeks. The results are so encouraging that news of this revolutionary treatment has spread through word of mouth.
A dozen patients, currently at Anandaban were referring by hospitals in India. A team of Nepali doctors is also training doctors in Burma, Bangladesh and Nigeria. The new treatment is expecting to add to Nepal’s success in reducing the prevalence of leprosy from 21 cases per 10,000 in the 1980s to less than 1 today. Nepal was officially declaring leprosy-free in 2010 when the prevalence rate came down to 0.79%.
Leprosy is curable with multidrug therapy but many do not get treatment on time. The incubation period is five years on average and symptoms may occur within a year, but can also take as long as 30 years to become visible, making the disease difficult to diagnose, and the delay leads to nerve damage and deformities. Leprosy is transmitted through the air during close and frequent contact with untreated cases.
Leprosy can afflict anyone but there is a correlation between the disease and poverty, explains dermatologist Mahesh Shah. “If one’s immune system is strong, the bugs do not do any damage. But poor hygiene and nutrition increases susceptibiltity. Neglected people from neglected countries suffer from leprosy the most.