MEDICINE: Battle over Leprosy

Long-dreaded leprosy is rated by top experts a hundred times less contagious than TB, and it is virtually impossible for an adult to be infected by casual contact. On these facts, the U.S. Public Health Service Hospital at Carville, La.—the national leprosarium—based its extraordinary system of allowing patients to lead near-normal lives. Under Dr. Frederick Andrew Johansen, who spent 29 years there, Carville helped a whole generation of leprosy patients to feel (psychologically, at least) like normal human beings. "Dr. Jo" let patients marry and live together, encouraged outsiders (provided they were...

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