Woodcut of leprosy in medieval times

Woodcut of leprosy in medieval times


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Woodcut (date not given) to illustrate leprosy, a disease that was introduced into Europe by the troops of Alexander the Great returning from India to Greece. It reached its highest incidence in Europe between 1000 & 1400 & declined thereafter. In 1941 a sulphone derivitive proved effect against the disease & since then other drugs have been used. The disease, caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium leprae, affects the skin, mucous membranes & the nerves. The illustration on the right shows an attendant, possibly in a lazaretto, or leper colony, washing the sores of a leper. On the left the sainted Lazarus, a beggar in Christ's parable, allows a dog to lick his leprous sores.

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