DR KARI LOUNATMAA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR KARI LOUNATMAA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Mycobacterium leprae. Transmission electron micrograph of a section through a group of Mycobacterium leprae bacteria, cause of leprosy. Also known as Hansen's disease. Each bacterium cut through appears rounded, but they are rod-shaped Gram-positive bacilli. The disease is spread in droplets of nasal mucus and a person is infectious only during the first stages of leprosy. The bacteria incubates for 3-5 years. Nerve damage usually occurs in limbs and facial areas, which may lead to skin damage, blindness, and disfigurement. Drug treatment kills the bacteria, but surgery may be required. Vaccines are being tested. Magnification: x118,000 at 6x7cm size.
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