How can I prevent leprosy (Tamil)

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Unfortunately, there is still no vaccination ready to use that can protect you from the contagion with leprosy. A vaccination will help to eradicate leprosy completely. The vaccination is in development stages, but the testing takes many years. It is hoped that it will be ready for use by 2025.

But there is an effective treatment available, and a few days after the treatment is started leprosy cannot be transmitted to other people. To eradicate this disease, it is very important to detect the early signs of leprosy.

In case you are affected, you can start the treatment early, cure the disease, avoid long-term damages and impairments of the body and prevent transmission to other people.

If you live in an area where leprosy cases are known, please check regularly for skin patches. If you find a patch, please contact a leprosy-trained health worker. If you have had close contact in the past with a patient recently diagnosed with leprosy, you should ask someone from the health center to check your whole body for leprosy patches.

Also, if you had close contact with a person affected by leprosy it is possible to take a medicine that can protect you from getting the disease. It’s a medicine that can kill the germs. You only have to take it once. You should only take this medicine when there are no patches on your body which are suspected to be leprosy. By taking this medicine and killing the germs the chance that you get leprosy afterwards is very low, but there is still a small risk. Please continue to check your body in the next years for patches. This prevention method is called PEP (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis) or SDR-PEP (Single dose Rifampicin Post-Exposure-Prophylaxis). You should not take this PEP medication when you are pregnant, but please ask for PEP once you have delivered.

Children must be older than 2 years and weight more than 10kg to take the PEP medication. If you are known to have a Tuberculosis or severe cough you also should not take the PEP medication but please talk to a health worker about this. Once you took the PEP medication it is very often that your urine turns to an orange or red colour. This is completely normal and does not harm you.

Also, it is very important to pay attention to a good prevention in general. If you can strengthen your body's defenses, it will help in resisting a contagion. You can do so by paying attention to hygiene, for example washing your hands before eating and after toilet, drinking clean water and eating a healthy and varied diet, comprising different types of fruits and vegetables.

  • German Leprosy and Tuberculosis Relief Association -