Leper colony

From Academic Kids

A leper colony is a place to quarantine people with leprosy from the rest of the population. Historically, leprosy was greatly feared because it caused visible disfigurement and disability, was incurable, and was commonly believed to be highly contagious. In many societies, people with the disease were shunned or forced to leave the community, and the leper colony was a refuge.

A leper colony administered by a Christian religious order was often called a lazar house, after Lazarus the Beggar in a parable told by Jesus in the bible.

Leprosy still exists today, particularly in the developing world, but is easily treatable with antibiotic therapy. Some people are permanently disabled by leprosy, generally due to late diagnosis, however after finishing antibiotic treatment they are no longer infected or contagious and quarantine is not needed.

Before there was a cure, people would send the infected to what were called "leper colonies". In these leper colonies, the people with leprosy would have to fend for themselves, with very few supplies. They were cruel, lawless places, with very little shelter, where the infected would live out their lives. Theft, violence, and abuse were common.

Famous or long-surviving leper colonies were located in Kalaupapa, Hawaii; Chacachacare, Trinidad; The Basin, Victoria; and Spinalonga, Crete. Many such colonies were located on islands, so as to better segregate the sickly from the general population. Some leper colonies issued their own money (such as tokens), in the belief that allowing lepers to handle regular money could spread the disease. However, recently it has been discovered that leprosy is very hard to spread, and about 90% of the people in the world couldn't get it if they tried. In fact Alistair Clifton kissed a man in Texas in 1852 who had leprosy. He was trying to show the crowd how it was safe to be with a 'leper'. He didn't contract the disease, and in fact, lived another 49 years.

See also: Leprosy

Template:Treatment-stub

External links

  • Lazarus the Beggar (http://www.biblegateway.com/cgi-bin/bible?passage=LUKE+16:19-21&language=english&version=NIV&showfn=on&showxref=on)

pl:Leprozorium pt:Leprosário

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