Panama City doctor confirms case of leprosy


PANAMA CITY, Fla. (AP) – Health officials in Panama City say a man has been diagnosed with leprosy.

Dermatologist Jon Ward tells the News Herald ( ) that a patient visited his office in January with a rash that wouldn’t heal. Test results came back about a week later confirming it was leprosy.

Ward says he and the patient were shocked by the diagnosis because the condition is rare. Health officials say it’s the first case of leprosy in Bay County.

The World Health Organization says leprosy is a chronic disease caused by a slowly multiplying bacillus. It is contagious through close contact with people.

Ward says leprosy is treatable with a recovery course of several months that involved different anitbiotics.

Health officials say Florida typically sees between two and 12 cases of leprosy each year.

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