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Leprosy is an infection caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium leprae. The disease is also referred to as Hansen’s Disease, termed after the Norwegian physician who identified the bacteria in 1873. Leprosy typically results in nerve damage and skin sores. The disease has existed since ancient times, and was widely feared as an incurable and debilitating infection. As a result, individuals who suffered from the condition were often shunned and quarantined in leper colonies, the first example of quarantining. However, the disease is only contagious if one comes into close, constant contact with nose and mouth droplets from someone with untreated leprosy. World Leprosy Day was launched in 1954 to raise awareness about the disease.