Hesperian Health Guides

Types of Leprosy

Every day 20,000 people visit the HealthWiki for lifesaving health information. A gift of just $5 helps make this possible!

Make a giftMake a gift to support this essential health information people depend on.

HealthWiki > Disabled Village Children > Chapter 26: Leprosy: Hansen’s Disease > Types of Leprosy

Depending on how much natural resistance a person has, leprosy appears in 2 different forms. You can count the number of skin patches to find out to find out the type of leprosy a person has—people with Pauci-Bacillary (PB) have up to 5 skin patches, while people with Multi-Bacillary (MB) leprosy have more than 5 skin patches.
  • in persons with relatively high resistance
  • no bacilli in skin smear
  • Person cannot pass leprosy on to others.
A skin patch with raised margins
  • Person may have up to 5 skin patches, variable in appearance, but often have raised margins and flat centers.
  • Feeling is reduced or absent in centers of the skin patches.
A boy with a skin patch near his bottom
  • Skin on the face is not thickened.
  • Nerve damage appears early, but usually involves loss of feeling only in patches of skin. Usually it does not affect the eyes, hands, or feet. When it does, it often happens early and causes loss of feeling or strength in only one hand or foot.
  • in persons with low resistance
  • bacilli—few to many in skin smears
  • Person can pass leprosy to others (until treated).
A boy facing back  with skin patches all over his backside
  • more than 5 skin patches, raised or flat with irregular edges, and usually some loss of feeling; patches about the same on both sides of the body
  • The skin of the face may become thick, lumpy, reddish, especially over the eyebrows, cheeks, nose and ears.
a boy with an abnormal face
loss of eyebrows
ear lobe thick and lumpy nostrils sometimes deformed
  • Severe nerve damage often results, with loss of feeling and loss of strength in both hands and feet, with deformities.

This page was updated:21 Nov 2019