Creepy Lepra Villiage in China (13 pictures)
Leprosy was said to be first recognized in the ancient civilizations of China, Egypt and India, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Leprosy, also known as Hansen’s disease, was officially eliminated at the national level in China by 1982, meaning prevalence is lower than 1 in 100,000. There are 3,510 active cases today. Though leprosy has been brought under control in general, the situation in some areas is worsening, according to China’s Ministry of Health. In the past, leprosy sufferers were ostracized by their communities as the disease was incurable, disfiguring and wrongly thought to be highly infectious.
500,000 cases of leprosy were registered in China between 1950 and 2002. Most of these sufferers have been cured but approximately 6,000 active cases remain today and about 2,000 new cases are detected and registered every year. Many more cases are not registered, partly through ignorance, but also because of the stigma associated with the disease.
Many of those people affected by leprosy have been isolated in remote villages since the 1950s, and they and their offspring – most of whom have never been infected – have little chance of rejoining society because of the strong prejudice, and their own fears. Due to strong stigma of the disease, many children have been abandoned, while others are deprived of proper care because their parents/families are concerned that their extended family may be ostracised. There have been cases of people that have recovered from leprosy who have been permanently spurned by their family after being sent away by parents for medical help. They instead have been told (by their families) to remain in the leper colony. These cases include those who have lived in leper colonies for over 40 years. [source]