Difference between Leprosy and Psoriasis

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Difference between Leprosy and Psoriasis: Leprosy, or Hansen's disease, stems from infection by Mycobacterium leprae, leading to distinctive skin lesions, nodules, and nerve damage. Although transmission is possible, most people have inherent immunity, making it not a very contagious disease. Antibiotics such as dapsone, rifampicin, and clofazimine are the mainstay of treatment; nevertheless, nerve damage may not go away if diagnosis and treatment are postponed. On the other hand, Psoriasis is an inflammatory disease characterised by red, scaly patches that are mostly found on the elbows, knees, scalp, and lower back. It is caused by hyperactive immune responses that speed up skin cell regeneration. Psoriasis, unlike Leprosy, is not communicative. Topical therapies, phototherapy, or systemic drugs are used to reduce inflammation and limit the proliferation of skin cells. Leprosy can be treated with early intervention, but Psoriasis is a chronic condition that requires continuous care to manage symptoms and avoid flare-ups.

Difference between Leprosy and Psoriasis

Mycobacterium leprae causes Leprosy, an autoimmune disease that causes skin lesions and nerve damage that is treated with antibiotics; on the other hand, Psoriasis is an inflammatory skin condition that causes red, scaly patches that must be managed to control inflammation and skin cell growth.The table below provides the differences between Leprosy and Psoriasis.





Bacterial infection (Mycobacterium leprae)

Autoimmune disorder


Through respiratory droplets from untreated individuals

Not contagious


Skin lesions, nerve damage, deformities

Raised, red patches with silvery scales, itching, pain


Clinical examination, skin biopsy, laboratory tests

Clinical examination, sometimes skin biopsy


Antibiotics (multidrug therapy), lasting months to years

Topical medications, phototherapy, oral medications, biologic drugs


Low contagion, requires prolonged close contact

Not contagious

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What is Leprosy?

Leprosy, commonly known as Hansen's disease, is a chronic infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae bacteria. It mostly affects the skin, eyes, upper respiratory tract mucosa, and peripheral nerves. Skin lesions, nodules, nerve damage, and, in the event that treatment is not received, deformity and incapacity might result from Leprosy. The majority of people naturally have an immunity to the bacteria, hence it is not very contagious. On the other hand, extended close contact with untreated individuals can still spread the infection. Leprosy can be cured and long-term consequences can be avoided with an early diagnosis and antibiotic therapy.

Causes of Leprosy 

  • Mycobacterium leprae Infection: Leprosy is mostly caused by an infection with the Mycobacterium leprae Bacteria. The disease's recognisable skin lesions and nerve damage are caused by this bacterium, which predominantly attacks the skin and peripheral nerves.
  • Extended intimate Contact: It is thought that long-term, intimate contact between untreated carriers of the active illness can transmit Leprosy. In homes, neighbourhoods, or other places where people live close to one another, this interaction may take place.
  • Weakened Immune System: After being exposed to the bacteria, people who have compromised immune systems are more likely to get Leprosy. Malnutrition, infections (including HIV/AIDS), certain drugs, and illnesses that impair immunological function are all factors that can compromise the immune system.
  • Genetic Predisposition: Evidence suggests that genetic factors may influence susceptibility to Leprosy, while this is not well understood. The chance of contracting the disease may increase due to certain genetic differences in the human host that impact the immune system's reaction to Mycobacterium leprae infection.
  • Environmental Factors: Leprosy may spread due to environmental factors like living in filthy or crowded conditions. Inadequate living circumstances may aid in the bacterium's spread among vulnerable people.

Symptoms of Leprosy 

  • Skin Lesions: Skin lesions, which can manifest as discoloured areas with diminished feeling or numbness, are frequently caused by Leprosy. These lesions may have decreased perspiration or hair growth, and they may be lighter or darker in colour than the surrounding skin.
  • Damage to Nerves: Peripheral nerves can be impacted by Leprosy, which can result in damage to the nerves and loss of feeling in the affected areas. The hands, feet, arms, and legs may become numb, tingly, or weak as a result. In more severe situations, nerve injury can also result in paralysis or weakening of the muscles.
  • Enlarged or Thickened Nerves: Visible lumps or nodules beneath the skin may result from Leprosy-related nerve thickening or enlargement. Neuritis, or these enlargements of the nerves, is a defining hallmark of lepromatous Leprosy.
  • Eye Problems: Leprosy can cause dryness, redness, sensitivity to light (photophobia), and blurred vision. In severe cases, keratitis, or inflammation of the cornea, can result from Leprosy and cause blindness.
  • Loss of Eyebrows and Eyelashes: In lepromatous Leprosy, the bacterium may infiltrate the hair follicles, resulting in the loss of eyebrows and eyelashes.

What is Psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a long-term, autoimmune skin disorder marked by a fast accumulation of skin cells that cause red, thick areas covered in silvery scales. Although these so-called plaques can appear anywhere on the body, the elbows, knees, scalp, lower back, and genitalia are the most often affected areas. Although the precise origin of Psoriasis is unknown, immune system, environmental, and genetic factors are thought to be involved. Psoriasis can lead to dry, cracked skin, itching, and discomfort. In certain instances, it can also impact the nails and joints, resulting in changes to the nails and pain in the joints. 

Causes of Psoriasis

  • Skin Trauma or Injury: Cuts, scratches, and sunburns are examples of areas where Psoriasis lesions might occasionally appear. The Koebner reaction is the name given to this phenomena.
  • Illnesses: Psoriasis symptoms have been linked to the development or exacerbation of some illnesses, most notably streptococcal infections. Streptococcal throat infections, in particular, have been linked to guttate Psoriasis, a type of Psoriasis characterised by small, droplet-shaped lesions.
  • Stress: It has been shown that psychological stress might make some people's Psoriasis symptoms worse. Psoriasis flare-ups can be brought on by or made worse by stressful life events, continuous stress, or emotional anguish.
  • Alcohol and Smoking: It has been determined that drinking too much alcohol and smoking are two possible risk factors for Psoriasis. People who smoke or drink alcohol excessively may be more susceptible to developing Psoriasis or experiencing more severe symptoms.
  • Medication: In patients who are vulnerable, some medications, including lithium, beta-blockers, antimalarial drugs, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), may cause or exacerbate Psoriasis symptoms. 

Symptoms of Psoriasis

  • Red Skin Patches: Elevated, inflammatory skin patches are a common symptom of Psoriasis. These patches are usually pink or red in colour, though they can vary in size and shape. They could show up as separate lesions or combine to form bigger plaques.
  • Silvery Scales: Due to the fast skin cell turnover, the afflicted skin frequently develops silvery-white scales. These scales are easily detached and can land on clothing or the skin's surface.
  • Discomfort: Psoriasis patches have the potential to cause discomfort and irritation due to their itching. In addition to exacerbating symptoms, scratching the afflicted area may result in bleeding or infection.
  • Dry and Cracked Skin: Psoriasis can lead to dry, cracked skin that is prone to fissures.

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Similarities Between Leprosy and Psoriasis

  • Skin Lesions: Skin lesions can form in both Psoriasis and Leprosy. These lesions can show up as discoloured patches with reduced feeling or numbness in Leprosy, or as elevated, inflammatory patches covered in silvery scales in Psoriasis. Nevertheless, the skin may alter visibly as a result of either illness.
  • Chronic Conditions: Leprosy and Psoriasis are chronic conditions, meaning they are long-lasting and typically require ongoing management to control symptoms. During time, there may be sporadic remissions of symptoms, but they can also experience flare-ups.
  • Immune System Involvement: The immune systems of both patients are dysfunctional. Mycobacterium leprae damages skin and nerves by interfering with the immune system during leprosy. When healthy skin cells are unintentionally attacked by the immune system, psoriasis results in fast skin cell turnover and the development of plaques.

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What is Leprosy?

Mycobacterium leprae is the causative agent of Leprosy, which is often referred to as Hansen's disease. It is a persistent infectious disease. Though it can damage other organs as well, it mainly affects the skin and nerves.

How is Leprosy transmitted?

It is believed that respiratory droplets from an untreated Leprosy patient's cough or sneeze transmit the illness. Transmission typically requires prolonged, close contact with an untreated person.

What are the symptoms of Leprosy?

Leprosy symptoms include skin lesions, nerve damage that results in numbness or paralysis in the affected areas, and occasionally skin and limb deformities.

What is Psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a skin condition caused by a persistent autoimmune illness. It develops when the immune system unintentionally targets healthy skin cells, which causes an excess of skin cells to proliferate and results in elevated, red areas that are covered in silvery scales.

What causes Psoriasis?

Although the precise aetiology of Psoriasis is unknown, environmental factors including stress, infections, and certain drugs are thought to play a role in addition to a hereditary susceptibility.

What are the symptoms of Psoriasis?

Psoriasis is characterised by itchy, burning, and painful raised red skin patches called plaques that are covered with silvery scales. Although these patches can appear anywhere on the body, the elbows, knees, scalp, and lower back are the most often affected areas.