Leprosy Mailing List – December 20, 2017
Ref.: (LML) Fear from leprosy and lepraphobia
From: Khali al Aboud, Saudi Arabia; José Augusto, Brazil; Ajit P, India
Many thanks for sharing the comments by Mathias (LML, 15-12-2017). As stated in my original post that the term leprophobia is not precisely defined in the literature. It might be used to denote anxiety from contact with a leprosy patient, a fear to get leprosy infection in general or from a contact with leprosy patients or like the cases I saw a fear from being affected by leprosy. Some patient with leprophobia might need psychological or psychiatry support but the logical first step in, my view, is health education and addressing the concerns of persons affected with this condition. People in endemic areas may need to know that there are thousands of non-infectious dermatology disorders and not all skin conditions and lesions are a manifestation of leprosy.
With my thanks and regards,
Khalid al Aboud
Unfortunately, this topic is the same when it is used as for Lepra and Hanseniasis. Principally in Brazil, when even after changing "Lepra" to "Hanseniasis" we still got serious problems to solve. Because I believe not in names but in the change of attitude to the attention for a sickness that affects human beings. A lot of times, these names as "Hanseniasis", "Lepraphobia" could be used to the deny the problem and face it properly. I always think in paradigms that were used with HIV, a direct action by the professionals without failing was the most important in taking away the fear. We should use stories about patients who are cured, and living happily their lives after being treated by professionals who were committed to their cause. The fear is always inside us, the question should be how to face this disease when we ourselves fear to be infected? It's a question of Empathy.
In respect to leprophobia:
We do come across Hansen patients in practice who after treatment are afraid of relapse. There is an entity termed Damocles syndrome entailing pervasive fear of relapse described I guess in haematology malignancies in children.
LML - S Deepak, B Naafs, S Noto and P Schreuder
LML blog link: http://leprosymailinglist.blogspot.it/
Contact: Dr Pieter Schreuder << firstname.lastname@example.org