What is the pathophysiology of leprosy in hosts with a vigorous immune response?

Updated: Aug 24, 2018
  • Author: Darvin Scott Smith, MD, MSc, DTM&H; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Answer

Leprosy can manifest in different forms, depending on the host response to the organism.

Individuals who have a vigorous cellular immune response to M leprae have the tuberculoid form of the disease that usually involves the skin and peripheral nerves. The number of skin lesions is limited, and they tend to be dry and hypoesthetic. Nerve involvement is usually asymmetric. This form of the disease is also referred to as paucibacillary leprosy because of the low number of bacteria in the skin lesions (ie, < 5 skin lesions, with absence of organisms on smear). Results of skin tests with antigen from killed organisms are positive in these individuals.


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