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What are the characteristics of a leprosy lesion?

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Leprosy skin lesions are lighter than the surrounding skin, are usually red or copper-colored, and may show a loss of sensation. The lesions can appear flat, raised or as nodules, according to the World Health Organization.

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While skin smears or a biopsy can also diagnose leprosy, a lesion is considered leprous if the person with the lesion shows definite sensory loss and lives in a country where leprosy is endemic, according to the WHO. India, Indonesia, Angola, Bangladesh and China are a few countries where the disease is endemic, according to the International Federation of Anti-Leprosy Associations.

There are three types of leprosy: tuberculoid, lepromatous and borderline. People with tuberculoid leprosy have just a few lesions, while lepromatous leprosy is marked by rashes and bumps covering a larger area of the body. Borderline leprosy has characteristics of both tuberculoid and lepromatous leprosy, according to WebMD. Skin numbness caused by nerve damage can occur with all three forms of the disease.

The skin sores caused by leprosy can be disfiguring, according to WebMD. Leprosy complications include blindness, erectile dysfunction in men, disfigured hands and feet because of muscle weakness, and permanent nerve damage; however, antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs can treat the disease.

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