The word leprosy has cast a shadow of terror before it since times of antiquity. From biblical days, when the leper had to proclaim his presence with a cry of "unclean," to the present period, when he is summarily incarcerated, no other disease has had the tremendous religious, moral, and social implications of leprosy. Despite the fact that it is far less contagious than tuberculosis and infinitely less prevalent, leprosy is considered a much greater hazard by the general public and, perhaps, by the medical profession. If this attitude is found in the United States, with only 0.1% of the world's lepers, it is not difficult to conceive of the unfortunate lot of the remaining 5,000,000 lepers in the poverty-stricken, less enlightened areas of the world.
Recently, with newer advances in chemotherapy, a belated hope has been tendered to lepers. In view of the greater efficacy of these drugs in