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Medical authority reports first case of leprosy in Morgan County

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DECATUR, Ala. - The first known case of leprosy, also known as Hansen's disease, was diagnosed in Morgan County, officials said Wednesday.

Dermatologic Surgeon Dr. Angelo Mancuso diagnosed a patient with leprosy, according to a press release. This is the first known case in Morgan County. The last reported cases were 2012 in south Alabama, according to Dr. Mancuso.

Dr. Mancuso contacted the CDC in Atlanta and the Alabama State Health Director. The patient was referred to an infectious disease specialist, also. Dr. Mancuso said the patient had contracted the disease outside the country.

Leprosy is a chronic bacterial disease that primarily affects the skin, peripheral nerves and upper airway. Though it is feared as a highly contagious and devastating disease leprosy is not highly transmissible, is very treatable, and, with early diagnosis and treatment, is not disabling, Dr. Mancuso said.

Treatment for leprosy can last several years. People are generally able to continue their normal work and other activities while in treatment.