How Leper Colonies (Leprosaria) Work


Lots More Information

Author's Note: How Leper Colonies Worked

As I was writing this article in the fall of 2014, the cable news channels and news websites were filled with scary talk of Ebola, the often fatal infectious disease that was ravaging parts of West Africa. Some shrilly demanded that the U.S. ban travel to and from that region to prevent the disease from spreading here, though the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Tom Frieden, went on TV to calmly assure the public that such measures were unnecessary and wouldn't work anyway.

What I saw in all those histrionics, though, was that the same human tendency that had created leper colonies -- the urge to panic in the face of a threat and resort to the harshest solution, without regard for its impacts -- still exists. I'm hoping that we someday will find a cure for that flaw in our character, just as we did for leprosy.

Related Articles

Sources

  • A.A.K. "Why is It Hard to Eradicate Leprosy." The Economist. Nov. 11, 2013. (Oct. 11, 2014) http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2013/11/economist-explains-6
  • American Leprosy Missions. "Leprosy Frequently Asked Questions." 2014. (Oct. 11, 2014) http://www.leprosy.org/leprosy-faqs/
  • American Leprosy Missions. "Leprosy History." Leprosy.org. 2014. (Oct. 11, 2014) http://www.leprosy.org/leprosy-history/
  • Amundson, Ron and Ruddle-Miyamoto, Akira Oakaokalani. "A Wholesome Horror: The Stigmas of Leprosy in 19th Century Hawaii." Disability Studies Quarterly. 2010. (Oct. 11, 2014) http://dsq-sds.org/article/view/1270/1300
  • Associated Press. "Leprosy Exiles' Memorial Advances." Los Angeles Times. Feb. 13, 2008. (Oct. 11, 2014) http://articles.latimes.com/2008/feb/13/nation/na-hansens13
  • BBC News. "Inside Europe's Last Leprosy Colony." BBC News. March 16, 2011. (Oct. 11, 2014) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-12759393
  • BBC News. "Japan's leprosy policy denounced." BBC News. March 2, 2005. (Oct. 11, 2014) http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4311679.stm
  • BBC News. "Leprosy Will Not Disappear." BBC News. Sept. 5, 2002. (Oct. 11, 2014) http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/2238888.stm
  • Boulard, Garry. "Only U.S. leper colony faces uncertain future: Scientific advances, budget cuts could close the Louisiana facility." Los Angeles Times. Nov. 29, 2013. (Oct. 11, 2014) http://articles.latimes.com/1993-11-29/news/mn-62114_1_leper-colony
  • Cookson, Richard and Rhodes, Seyi. "Leprosy: India's Hidden Disease." The Guardian. March 24, 2011 (Oct. 11, 2014) http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2011/mar/24/leprosy-india-hidden-disease
  • Cosgrove-Mather, Bootie. "Last Days Of A Leper Colony." Cbs.news. March 22, 2003. (Oct. 11, 2014) http://www.cbsnews.com/news/last-days-of-a-leper-colony/
  • Egol, San. "The history of leprosy." National Museum of American History. Aug. 16, 2011. (Oct. 11, 2014) http://blog.americanhistory.si.edu/osaycanyousee/2011/08/the-history-of-leprosy.html
  • George, Nirmala. "Stigma hinders efforts to combat leprosy in India." Associated Press. March 9, 2014. (Oct. 14, 2014) http://bigstory.ap.org/article/stigma-hinders-efforts-combat-leprosy-india
  • Gye, Hugo. "Inside an abandoned leper colony: Haunting images of the asylum where disfigured sufferers were sent to die on Greek island." Daily Mail. March, 6, 2013. (Oct. 11, 2014) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2288913/Inside-abandoned-leper-colony-Haunting-pictures-disease-sufferers-locked-Greek-island.html
  • Health and Human Services Administration. "National Hansen's Disease (Leprosy) Program." Hrsa.gov. (Oct. 11, 2014) http://www.hrsa.gov/hansensdisease/
  • ILEP. "History of Leprosy." Ilep.org. uk. 2014. (Oct. 11, 2014) http://www.ilep.org.uk/facts-about-leprosy/the-history-of-leprosy/
  • International Leprosy Association. "Global Project on the History of Leprosy." Leprosyhistory.org. Oct. 10, 2013. (Oct. 11, 2014) http://www.leprosyhistory.org/english/englishhome.htm
  • Jones, Jay. "Hawaii: Poignant trip on Molokai takes on added meaning." Los Angeles Times. Dec. 14, 2012. (Oct. 11, 2014) http://articles.latimes.com/2012/dec/14/news/la-trb-hawaii-molokai-cope-nun-leper-colony-020121213
  • Leland, Karen. "On Molokai, a history of isolation opens up." Los Angeles Times. Oct. 23, 2011. (Oct. 11, 2014) http://articles.latimes.com/2011/oct/23/travel/la-tr-molokai-20111023
  • Leprosyheritage.com. "Tichilesti Hospital, Romania." Leprosyheritage.com. (Oct. 11, 2014)
  • MedlinePlus. "Leprosy." MedlinePlus. Oct. 9, 2014. (Oct. 11, 2014) http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001347.
  • National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. "Leprosy (Hansen's Disease)." Nih.gov. April 25, 2011. (Oct. 11, 2014) http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/leprosy/understanding/Pages/whatis.aspx
  • National Institutes of Health. "Leprosy (Hansen's Disease): History of the Disease." Nih.gov. Feb. 8, 2011. (Oct. 11, 2014) http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/leprosy/understanding/Pages/history.aspx
  • National Parks Service. "Father Damien." Nps.gov. Sept. 13, 2014. (Oct. 11, 2014) http://www.nps.gov/kala/historyculture/damien.htm
  • National Parks Service. "Hansen's Disease (Leprosy)." Nps.gov. Sept. 13, 2014. (Oct. 11, 2014) http://www.nps.gov/kala/historyculture/hansens1.htm
  • National Parks Service. "In Their Own Words." Nps.gov. Sept. 16, 2014. (Oct. 11, 2014) http://www.nps.gov/kala/historyculture/history1.htm
  • National Parks Service. "Leprosy Through the Ages." Nps.gov. (Oct. 11, 2014) http://www.nps.gov/history/history/online_books/kala/pdf/b2lepages.pdf
  • National Parks Service. "Settlement History--Why Here?" nps.gov. Sept. 25, 2014. (Oct. 11, 2014) http://www.nps.gov/kala/historyculture/history1.htm
  • New King James Version. "Leviticus 13--The Law Concerning Leprosy." Biblegateway.com. (Oct. 11, 2014) https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Leviticus+13&version=NKJV
  • Rawcliffe, Carole. "The Lost Hospitals of London: Leprosaria." Gresham.ac.uk. March 5, 2012. (Oct. 11, 2014) http://www.gresham.ac.uk/lectures-and-events/the-lost-hospitals-of-london-leprosaria
  • Robbins, Gwen. "Ancient Skeletal Evidence for Leprosy in India (2000 B.C.)" PLOS ONE. May 27, 2009. (Oct. 11, 2014) http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0005669
  • Sato, Hajime and Frantz, Janet E. "Termination of the leprosy isolation policy in the US and Japan: Science, policy changes, and the garbage can model." BMC International Health and Human Rights Watch. 2005. (Oct. 11, 2014) http://www.biomedcentral.com/1472-698X/5/3
  • Saunderson, Paul R. "Leprosy Elimination: Not as Straightforward as It Seemed." Public Health Reports. March-April 2008. (Oct. 11, 2014) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2239331/
  • Stanford University. "Leprosy." Stanford.edu. 2006. (Oct. 11, 2014) http://web.stanford.edu/class/humbio103/ParaSites2005/Leprosy/index.htm
  • Times Staff and Wire Reports. "Resident of Kalaupapa leprosy colony helped end quarantine." Los Angeles Times. Dec. 16, 2008. (Oct. 11, 2014) http://articles.latimes.com/2008/dec/16/local/me-marks16
  • WebMD. "Leprosy Overview." Webmd.com. (Oct. 11, 2014) http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/guide/leprosy-symptoms-treatments-history
  • World Health Organization. "Leprosy Fact Sheet." Who.int. January 2014. (Oct. 11, 2014) http://www.who.int/lep/en/
  • World Health Organization. "Leprosy prevalence rates, data reported to WHO as of January 2012." Who.int. 2012. (Oct. 11, 2014) http://www.who.int/lep/situation/Leprosy_PR_2011.pdf?ua=1
  • World Health Organization. "Leprosy Today."Who.int. 2014. (Oct. 11, 2014) http://www.who.int/lep/en/
  • World Health Organization. "World Health Assembly (WHA) resolution to eliminate leprosy." Who.int. 2014. (Oct. 11, 2014) http://www.who.int/lep/strategy/wha/en/

More to Explore