18.3  Transmission, identification and diagnosis

The exact route of transmission for leprosy is still uncertain at the present time. However, the inside lining of the nose and the mouth is thought to be the main route through which the leprosy bacteria enter the human body – in other words, the main portal of entry. When an untreated leprosy patient coughs or sneezes, the droplets of mucus containing the leprosy bacteria are expelled into the air and can be inhaled by a susceptible person.

Suspecting and then diagnosing someone with leprosy is called case finding. The next section explains how you can do this in your community.

18.2  Burden of leprosy in the world

18.3.1  Case finding