World Leprosy Day Date in the current year: January 31, 2016

World Leprosy Day World Leprosy Day is an annual awareness day observed on the last Sunday in January. It aims to raise awareness of Hansen's disease, also known as leprosy. The day was first observed in 1954.

Leprosy is a chronic infectious disease caused by two types of Mycobacteria. It has a long incubation period that usually lasts about five years. In some cases, the infection takes as long as 20 years to manifest itself. Lepra affects the nervous system, respiratory tract, skin, and eyes. It is not very contagious and typically occurs among those who live in poverty.

Leprosy is one of the oldest diseases in the world, it is even mentioned in the Bible. For hundreds of years, it has been associated with social stigma. Even today, people with leprosy often have to face discrimination and ostracism. Many people still don't know that leprosy is curable with proper treatment and does not cause permanent damage if diagnosed and treated early.

World Leprosy Day was created to educate a wide audience about leprosy, fight against discrimination of people with leprosy, and help provide access to treatment. The holiday is celebrated on the Sunday nearest to January 30 (the last Sunday of January) to commemorate the death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi who contributed greatly to raising awareness of leprosy.

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World Leprosy Day, Hansen's disease, international observance, awareness day, leprosy