NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue’s Hansen’s Disease Clinic, the sole facility of its kind in the Mid-Atlantic region, commemorated World Leprosy Day this month by spotlighting the rare but curable disease, once known as leprosy. With an annual caseload of 440 patients, the clinic, in collaboration with the National Hansen’s Disease Program, stands at the forefront of eradicating misconceptions surrounding this ancient ailment.
Despite Hansen’s disease being a rarity in the United States, the clinic contends with up to 250 new cases annually. However, medical experts emphasize the curability of the disease, asserting that it is 100% treatable with antibiotics. Miriam Pomeranz, MD, Chief of Dermatology, NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue, commended the dedicated team for improving outcomes and dismantling stigma.
Dr. William R. Levis, Dermatologist and Clinic Attending Physician, highlighted the clinic’s commitment to patient care.
“Our team of compassionate providers is dedicated to a patient’s confidentiality and privacy,” stated Dr. Levis, underscoring the clinic’s patient-centric approach.
As the international community acknowledged World Leprosy Day, the clinic emphasized its role in dispelling myths and offering hope. The disease, caused by the Mycobacterium leprae bacterium, spreads slowly through respiratory droplets and long-term contact. However, Bellevue’s clinic stands firm in its assertion that early intervention with antibiotics can completely cure patients in six to twenty-four months.
While developed nations like the U.S. champion medical advancements, the global landscape reveals the ongoing struggle against leprosy. Lack of access to basic medical care and societal shame compound the suffering for many worldwide. The clinic’s efforts serve as a beacon, showcasing the potential to overcome this ancient ailment.
As the clinic continues its mission, there is a resounding call for global awareness and accessibility to medical care. With potential complications, such as nerve damage leading to paralysis and blindness if left untreated, the clinic advocates for early diagnosis and intervention.
Established in 1736, NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue, America’s oldest public hospital, remains a cornerstone in healthcare. With affiliations with the NYU Grossman School of Medicine, the hospital’s Hansen’s Disease Clinic exemplifies its commitment to addressing rare diseases, pushing boundaries, and paving the way for a healthier future.
NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue, a Level 1 Trauma Center, is America’s oldest public hospital, established in 1736.
Anchored by a diverse workforce and clinical centers of excellence, the hospital serves as a major referral center, tackling complex cases with a commitment to empowering New Yorkers.