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Read the passage carefully. Then choose the correct answer.
 
One of humankind's earliest recorded diseases is leprosy. It is a chronic and communicable illness caused by a microorganism called Mycobacterium leprae which was isolated by a Norwegian doctor, G. Armauer Hansen, in 1874. Some doctors prefer to call it Hansen's disease because of the stigma attached to the word leprosy. Leprosy has afflicted humanity since time immemorial. It once affected every continent and left behind a terrifying image in history and human memory of mutilation, rejection and exclusion from society.

In the beginning of 2003, the number of leprosy patients in the world was around 524 000, as reported by 103 countries. About 612 000 new cases were detected during 2002. It is estimated that there are between one and two million people visibly and irreversibly disabled due to past and present leprosy that require them to be cared for by the community in which they live.

There are two main kinds of leprosy. The most common is tuberculoid or neural leprosy in which the microorganisms attach to and deaden the nerves just beneath the skin. In the second type called lepromatous leprosy, the skin becomes thick and nodules may form on the face and body. Leprosy does not eat away tissues, as is commonly believed. As lepers often have no feeling in their hands or feet, injuries from bruises, cuts and bums are ignored, and the cumulative damage wears away skin and bone.

In a majority of cases, the sign of leprosy is a pale or reddish patch on the skin that is insensitive to heat, pain or even touch. In about ten per cent of the cases, the skin in the affected area thickens and becomes shiny. Occasionally, an early symptom is numbness or tingling. It is important to recognise these danger signs quickly since early treatment prevents deformities and reduces the chance of infecting other people.

There was no reliable treatment for leprosy until the early 1940s. Today's standard medication is using dapsone to suppress it. The treatment is often prolonged and the patient has to take the tablets for a few years and in rare cases, for a lifetime. Dapsone does not destroy the mycobacterium, but it arrests the organism's growth and makes the leprosy patient non-infectious. Seldom is leprosy completely removed from the body; it can only be halted using a multi-drug treatment. In addition, patients are taught to take care of themselves using a kind of visual check for significant nerve damage. Without the sensations of pain to identify cuts and bruises, patients must watch themselves constantly or be subject to dangerous infection.

     
  1. From paragraph 1
    (a) who discovered the disease ?
    (b) why is leprosy considered terrifying ?
     
  2. From paragraph 4,
    (a) name two symptoms
    (b) why is it important to get treatment quickly ?
    (c) explain the word 'deformities'
     
  3. From paragraph 5,
    (a) name two functions of the dapsone treatment.
    (b) why is it important for leprosy patients to carry out a visual check ?
     
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    Answers
  1. (a) Gl Armauer Hansen discovered the disease.
    (b) People with leprosy suffered mutilation, rejection and exclusion from society.
     
  2. (a)(i) There is a pale or reddish patch on the skin that is insensitive to heat, pain or even touch.   (ii) The skin in the affected area thickens and becomes shiny./ Occasionally, an early symptom is numbness or tingling.
    (b) This is to prevent deformities and to reduce the chance of infecting other people.
    (c) Parts of the affected areas become misshapen or abnormal in appearance due to infection.
     
  3. (a)(i) It arrests the organism's growth.   (ii) It makes the leprosy patient non-infectious.
    (b) This is because they do not have the sensations of pain to identify cuts and bruises. Therefore, they must watch themselves constantly or be subject to dangerous infections
       
 
 
 
 

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