Hansen's Disease (Leprosy)

Hansen’s disease (HD) is mistakenly associated with biblical leprosy. It is a complex, chronic, infectious disease caused by the bacillus Mycobacterium leprae. This bacterium was discovered by Dr. Gerhard H.A. Hansen in Norway in 1873. This disproved theories that the disease was hereditary and made it possible to search for a cure. Because of the stigma associated with the word “leprosy”, the term Hansen’s Disease is used instead. The name comes from the physician who discovered the bacterium.

In Texas, we provide treatment for individuals with Hansen’s disease. These services are federally funded through the National Hansen’s Disease Program (NHDP). This is an activity within the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), and the Bureau of Primary Health Care. It is authorized by Public Law 99-117, Section 2. (a), Section 320, and guided by DHHS regulations. The NHDP provides HD treatment for individuals with this disease through the NHDP, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and through its Ambulatory Care Program.

Medical Care Eligibility

Any individual living in the United States may receive outpatient medical care for the diagnosis and treatment of HD and its complications. Contacts of these patients are also eligible for services to rule out or confirm the diagnosis of HD.

The primary goal of the program is to prevent deformity and disability from HD through early diagnosis and treatment.

General Information and Resources

Contact a Clinic

DSHS-supported treatment for Hansen's Disease in Texas is available at the following sites: