Hansen's Disease (Leprosy)

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that as many as 220,000 new cases of leprosy, also known as Hansen's Disease, are diagnosed each year, an estimate that we believe understates the number by at least a factor of two. Many of these new cases are found in Brazil and India, although patients continue to be diagnosed and treated in another forty-one countries globally.

As cases of leprosy have decreased, fewer resources, including textbooks, are available that focus on it. The International Textbook of Leprosy (ITL) is a comprehensive online, open-access reference text written by more than fifty international experts from fourteen countries. The text is divided into two main sections, Clinical Sciences and Basic Sciences, with numerous hyperlinks between chapters. Our primary audience is medical doctors and scientists, particularly those who do not have access to a major medical library or the funds to purchase such a specialized text.


David Scollard, MD, PhD, was the Director (retired) of the National Hansen’s Disease Program (NHDP), a Division of the Healthcare Systems Bureau (HSB), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). He specializes in the pathology and immunology of leprosy, focusing on the mechanisms of nerve injury and the mechanisms of reactional states.

Tom Gillis, PhD, is Adjunct Professor of Microbiology, Immunology and Parasitology, LSU School of Medicine, New Orleans, LA. His research interests include understanding the mechanisms of drug resistance in leprosy and developing rapid diagnostic tests and vaccines for leprosy.

Contributing Authors

The contributing authors are international experts in leprosy treatment and research, many of whom have collaborated or consulted with the co-editors on prior projects. All of the authors were invited to contribute to this project and neither the co-editors nor the specific chapter authors have received compensation for their contributions.

American Leprosy Missions

American Leprosy Missions (ALM) is the oldest and largest non-governmental organization in the United States, working to bring a cure and ongoing care to people affected by leprosy and related diseases. Motivated by Christ’s love, American Leprosy Missions works in some of the world’s most impoverished places to bring healing and hope to some of the world’s most marginalized people. Its mission is to serve as a channel of Christ’s love to persons affected by leprosy and related diseases, helping them to be healed in body and spirit and restored to lives of dignity and hope.

Digital Turf

Digital Turf is a full-service digital agency that designs, develops, and runs online campaigns and digital marketing services. As an amalgamated website/book, the International Textbook of Leprosy posed a challenge from the perspectives of technology and connectivity. Digital Turf automated the functionality needed, bringing the website to fruition and fulfilling the original vision of the co-editors.

Papyros Designs

Papyros Designs provides comprehensive editing, design, writing, and project management services for technical and educational content. Papyros Designs copyedited the International Textbook of Leprosy, designed the related hardcopy text, and coordinated the project.