Four with leprosy in Osa expected to recover fully

Four leprosy patients are undergoing lengthy recoveries in the Osa peninsula, according to a doctor who has helped treat them.

He is Paulo Baeza of the Area de Salud Osa within the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social. He said the rare and gruesome disease is now easily dealt with by modern medicines.

Though their names are not allowed to be released, Baeza said the initial patient came to the Caja about two years ago while the most recent came in February with the serious infection. They are currently recovering at their homes, as those with leprosy are not permitted to stay in hospitals, he added.

Transmission of leprosy to humans is still widely relegated to speculation. Baeza pointed out that new discoveries in animal species have allowed researchers to get closer to a possible answer.

“There is no official literature with respect to known origins on its path to humans,” Baeza said. “Normally some people are thought to be born with something latent in them that may cause it.”

Also referred to as Hansen’s disease, leprosy is characterized by noticeable skin lesions. The disease affects the peripheral nervous system and respiratory processes.

Baeza said the usual treatment period lasts about two years and that all four infected persons are expected to be fully healthy in time.

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