It is almost impossible to believe, but leprosy is re-emerging in the UK! According to a recent article in The Guardian, it seems that doctors are so unfamiliar with the signs and symptoms that they are misdiagnosing it as, other more common, skin disorders, such as eczema.
So, if you’ve suffered unnecessarily from leprosy and you want to explore the claiming for compensation, contact us – we’re here to help.
Speak to one of our experienced compensation claims advisors free of charge today on 01204 521133 or on live chat for a consultation. Alternatively, you can fill in one of our claims forms or use our Compensation Calculator, and we’ll call you back.
How Will I Know if I Have Leprosy?
Leprosy is a skin condition that presents with symptoms very similar to many other skin diseases, such as eczema and or dermatitis and can take years to show themselves. This is an issue for today’s GPs, as they are unfamiliar with the signs and symptoms of the disease, due to it being eradicated from the UK many years ago. Statistics show that there’s not been a case of a person in the UK being infected by another person in the UK for over 60 years. So, most doctors don’t even suspect leprosy as a possible cause, let alone know what symptoms to look for.
According to The International Federation of Anti-Leprosy Associations, you should look out for:
- Reddish patches or areas of skin where the pigmentation is darker than usual – medically, this is called hyperpigmentation.
- Numbing of certain areas of skin – usually the same areas that are suffering from redness or hyperpigmentation.
- Your GP may take a smear from your skin, which will show the presence of the bacterial infection.
How Can I Catch Leprosy?
Thankfully, leprosy is not highly infectious. Quite the opposite it seems. Leprosy is really quite bad at passing itself onto others – it dies very quickly once it has left the safety of the human body and it appears, according to an article in the New York Times, that a staggering 95% of the population are immune. So the likelihood of you catching leprosy is very slim.
What is Leprosy?
Leprosy is a bacterial infection with Mycobacterium leprae. Although it’s easily cured, if it’s left untreated, it can lead to the loss of limbs. The Leprosy Mission states that it is a slow-moving bacterial infection. It is mildly infectious and begins by damaging the nerves on the surface of the skin. Once these nerves are damaged, there is a loss of sensation, so you can no longer feel pain.
This is a very dangerous situation to be in, as pain is your body’s indicator that you need to stop doing something that’s injuring you. Without this, you can end up damaging the skin and, underlying tissues, in ways that can result in more serious problems. For example, a small stone in the shoe of a person suffering from leprosy, could cut the skin. If that person does not realise that they have a cut on their skin, they may continue to walk on it, making the wound bigger and preventing healing.
This could progress into an ulcer, which can then become infected, leading to possible amputation.
The same can be true of the eyes. People with leprosy often go blind due to getting grit in their eyes and being unable to feel it. This scratches and damages the eyes, leading to blindness. Leprosy sufferers can also lose the ability to blink, which will eventually lead to blindness.
In short, if minor damage is not addressed immediately, the leprosy will continue to progress from the small nerves into the large nerves, which can result in a loss of sensation in the hands and feet entirely, which can cause clawed fingers, foot drop and, in extreme circumstances, amputation.
Treatment for Leprosy
There have been effective treatments for leprosy for many years – since 1982 in fact. The therapy requires that the sufferer takes medication for at least six months.
The treatment can stop the infection progressing any further, but it cannot restore feeling to those parts that no longer have it. Surgery can sometimes help open up clawed hands, but the numbness will still remain.
New Cases Emerging
The World Health Organisation has released figures on the number of cases reported in 2012. It is a staggering 232,857 worldwide – that’s one every two minutes! However, the majority of those were in India, as leprosy is still a disease that affects the poorest people the most.
It’s appears highly likely that leprosy has made its way back into the UK through visitors coming from overseas countries where leprosy is still prevalent. The two cases highlighted recently in the press, that brought this disfiguring disease back into focus, were both patients who had come into the UK from Asian countries very recently.
To read more about the leprosy in today’s society, there’s an interesting article in the New York Times – Leprosy, Still Claiming Victims
So, if you’ve been affected by leprosy following a misdiagnosis, call us to find out if you could claim compensation.
Asons Keep it Simple!
We try to keep it simple. We don’t want you to feel like you’re not sure what’s going on, or confused about where your case is up to. So, we promise to:
- use simple, straight-forward English wherever possible. We can’t avoid using some legal language, but we try to keep it to a minimum. This way, you can be sure you know where your case is up to
- allocate a personal claims handler to you. This will be your contact for the entire time that your case is active. Sometimes, however, changing your case handler is unavoidable. If this happens, you will be kept fully informed about who will be taking over your case and why
- inform you regularly as to the status of your case. You’ll be updated on how’s it’s progressing, in a clear and concise manner
- be here when you need us. It’s important that feel able to contact us, to ask questions or for an explanation, whenever you need to.
In short, we’ll make the process of claiming compensation as simple and easy-to-understand, as we possibly can.
There is a ‘statute of limitations’ applied to claims for personal injury compensation. This means that claims for compensation must be made within three years of either the date you were exposed to asbestos, or the date you discovered that your illness is due to exposure to asbestos.
‘No Win, No Fee’
The single most common reason for people who are entitled to claim compensation, not actually doing it, is because they think it will cost them lots of money, with no guarantee of winning.
That might happen, if we didn’t operate on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis. But, at Asons, we feel you should not have to lose out, if you’re suffering because of someone else’s negligence. So, you will not be expected to pay a penny, until your claim is complete and your compensation money has been awarded.
More on ‘no win, no fee’ here.
All you need to do is contact us. We can advise on whether you can claim for your asbestos-related disease, and on the chances of it being successful, quickly and easily. If we believe that the claim will be successful, and you want to go ahead, we can start right away.