Leprosy Mailing List – December 19, 2017
Ref.: (LML) Fear from leprosy and lepraphobia
From: Sunil Deepak, Italy and India
with reference to my friend Matthias' message regarding leprophobia (LML, 15-12-2017), I think that the phobia is excessive and irrational fear about leprosy.
Regarding the differences between stigma and leprophobia, I think that the two terms may be overlapping in some aspects and different in other. Both the terms are about fear but in stigma, the fear is rational, though it may be based upon wrong or incomplete information.
As an example of leprophobia, I used to have periodic telephone calls from a woman from south Italy for a number of years, who was sure that she had leprosy and that she should not be close to her grandchild because she was going to infect the child. She wanted to know the symptoms of leprosy, to see if they matched her fears. Over the years, she was seen by leprosy specialists in at least 3 hospitals in different parts of Italy, who had told her that she did not have the disease but nothing could change her fear. This fear was linked to something that had happened 20 years ago when a visiting woman had stayed in her house for one night and later she had discovered that the visitor's husband had been treated for leprosy. In the end, she was advised to go to a psychiatrist.
With best wishes,
Dr Sunil Deepak
Schio (VI, Italy) and Gurgaon (India)
LML - S Deepak, B Naafs, S Noto and P Schreuder
LML blog link: http://leprosymailinglist.blogspot.it/