Leprosy on the Increase: Sampang, Maduara Island

The number of lepers in Sampang district, Madura island in East Java province, is predicted to increase this year following their reluctance to get free medical treatment at local clinics and hospitals.

Leprosy, also known as Hansen’s disease, is an infectious disease caused by a DNA plasmid (transposon, or “ultravirus”, a small circle of DNA) carried in Hansen’s bacillum (the Mycobacterium leprae bacterium) which is thus the vector.

The plasmid can exist separately from the bacterial chromosome, and from the bacterium, when it invades human nerves. Leprosy can eventually cause a variety of skin problems, loss of feeling, and paralysis of the hands and feet according to Wikipedia.