World Leprosy Day
Observed annually on the last Sunday of January, World Leprosy Day is an international observance day designed to raise public awareness of leprosy. Leprosy, also known as Hansen’s Disease, is a long-term infection caused by the Mycobacterium leprae or Mycobacterium lepromatosis bacteria.
Although many people believe this disease to be extinct, the fact is that over 600 people around the world are diagnosed with this disease every day. Therefore, this day not only attempts to raise awareness about the disease but also about the people who are suffering from it.
The History of World Leprosy Day
This international awareness day was established by French philanthropist Raoul Follereau in 1954. He created the holiday to raise awareness about leprosy and to educate people about this disease. Even though this disease is rare in the U.S., there are still people who are afflicted with it despite it being a curable disease.
Facts You Should Know About Leprosy
Below are some facts that we believe everyone should know about leprosy. Let’s dig right into them.
- In September 2016, a California schoolchild was reported to have contracted leprosy.
- In 2014, there were over 175 cases of leprosy reported in the United States.
- Armadillos can carry the bacteria that causes leprosy.
- It’s been estimated that approximately 95% of all humans are immune to leprosy.
- The leprosy described in the Bible isn’t believed to be the same type of leprosy experienced today.
- The Bible’s “leprosy” refers to a variety of skin conditions that have been grouped under the leprosy umbrella.
- Over 15 million people have been cured of leprosy since the 1980s.
Observing World Leprosy Day
Everyone observing this day is encouraged to learn more about it and to spread the word. While observing this day, people should try to spread the word about it online using the hashtag #WorldLeprosyDay until there is no longer a need in the world to observe this day.