How is leprosy diagnosed?

Updated: Jun 05, 2020
  • Author: Darvin Scott Smith, MD, MSc, DTM&H; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Skin biopsy samples stained with hematoxylin-eosin and Fite-Faraco or Ziehl-Neelsen are the primary basis for laboratory diagnosis and categorization. A full-thickness skin biopsy sample should be taken from an advancing border of an active lesion and should include dermis and epidermis. Skin smears that demonstrate acid-fast bacilli strongly suggest a diagnosis of leprosy, but the bacilli may not be demonstrable in tuberculoid (paucibacillary) leprosy.

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