There are two forms of leprosy. In the tuberculoid form of the disease the skin lesions appear as light red or purplish spots. Tuberculoid leprosy is the more benign type, even though it is accompanied by nerve involvement, which leads to numbness (usually of the extremities), contractures, and ulceration. In lepromatous leprosy the skin lesions appear as yellow or brown infiltrated nodules (protuberances) that affect the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose, and throat. There is a general thickening of the skin, especially the face and ears. Lepromatous leprosy is the more easily spread of the two.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.