Lep"ro*sy(lp"r*s), n. [See Leprous.] (Med.) A cutaneous disease which first appears as blebs or as reddish, shining, slightly prominent spots, with spreading edges. These are often followed by an eruption of dark or yellowish prominent nodules, frequently producing great deformity. In one variety of the disease, ansthesia of the skin is a prominent symptom. In addition there may be wasting of the muscles, falling out of the hair and nails, and distortion of the hands and feet with destruction of the bones and joints. It is incurable, and is probably contagious.
The disease now called leprosy, also designated as Lepra or Lepra Arabum, and Elephantiasis Grcorum, is not the same as the leprosy of the ancients. The latter was, indeed, a generic name for many varieties of skin disease (including our modern leprosy, psoriasis, etc.), some of which, among the Hebrews, rendered a person ceremonially unclean. A variety of leprosy of the Hebrews (probably identical with modern leprosy) was characterized by the presence of smooth, shining, depressed white patches or scales, the hair on which participated in the whiteness, while the skin and adjacent flesh became insensible. It was an incurable disease.
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