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Vitiligo Overview


Is Vitiligo Contagious?

As you learned on the previous page, vitiligo appears because the body can no longer produce melanin. It is not caused by a germ or virus that can be transmitted from one person to the next, so the condition isn't contagious. In fact, vitiligo patients may feel isolated and alone simply because of their looks. Avoiding them out of fear that you may catch the disease could add to their pain [source: National Vitiligo Foundation].

Lee Thomas, an Emmy Award-winning African-American television news anchor, understands the isolation and pain associated with having vitiligo. He first noticed white spots on his scalp more than a decade ago. Thomas said he hid his condition for as long as he could -- about four years -- because he feared other people's reactions to his appearance.

"And not only did I wonder if I saw a monster, I wondered did other people see a monster when they saw me, especially when kids cry when they see your face," Thomas said in an interview on the ABC news program 20/20 [source: 20/20]. Thomas went on to say that people would not shake his hand, and if they did, they would sneak away to wipe their hands as soon as they could.

Those fears are not necessary. Touching with someone who has vitiligo will not put you at any risk. And there is hope for those who have it. Read on to learn about treatments for the condition.


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