|Description:||The man depicted here was ill with lepromatous leprosy, caused by the bacterium, Mycobacterium leprae. Findings included numerous M. leprae bacteria in the skin, as well as in his nasal secretions. But for a few cutaneous facial nodules, the ensuing process of facial deformation had yet to become evident. Under the newer World Health Organization (WHO) standards, this form of the disease is classified as multibacillary (MB), leprosy.|
A chronic infectious disease, leprosy usually affects the skin and peripheral nerves, but has a wide range of possible clinical manifestations. Patients are classified as having paucibacillary or multibacillary Hansen's disease. Paucibacillary Hansen's disease, which was the case here, is milder and characterized by one or more hypopigmented skin macules. Multibacillary Hansen's disease (see PHIL 15454 – 15459) is associated with symmetric skin lesions, nodules, plaques, thickened dermis, and frequent involvement of the nasal mucosa resulting in nasal congestion and epistaxis.