Which name is now used as a synonym for leprosy?
Diseases, Disorders, and Other Health Problems
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Mary Mallon (1855–1938), a cook who lived in New York City at the turn of the century, was identified as a chronic carrier of the typhoid bacilli. Immune to the disease herself, she was the cause of at least three deaths and 51 cases of typhoid fever. She was confined to an isolation center on North Brother Island, near the Bronx, from 1907 to 1910 and from 1914 to 1938. The New York City Health Department released her after the first confinement on the condition that she never accept employment that involved handling food. But when a later epidemic occurred at two places where she had worked as a cook, the authorities returned her to North Brother Island, where she remained until her death from a stroke in 1938.
Hansen’s disease is the name of this chronic, systemic infection characterized by progressive lesions. Caused by a bacterium, Mycobacterium leprae, which is transmitted through airborne respiratory droplets, the disease is not highly contagious. Continuous close contact is needed for transmittal. Antimicrobial agents, such as sulfones (dapsone in particular), are used to treat the disease.