Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 9.djvu/215

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LEPROSY
LEPROSY
182

ser op. dt., 635). Annexed to the Greek Orthodox Church in 1827, the see was suppressed in 1900, and replaced h}r the See of Acamania and Naupactia, whose seat is at Missolonghi; the limits of this diocese are identical with those of the nome Ætolia and Acarnania. As to the Latin archbishops of Naupactus during the Frankish occupation, Le Quien (Oriens Christ., III, 995) and Eubel (Hierarchia catholica medii ævi, I, 379; II, 222) mention about twenty in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.

Occupied by the Turks in 1498. Lepanto is chiefly celebrated for the victory which the combined papal, Spanish, Venetian, and Genoese fleets, under Don John of Austria, gained over the Turkish fleet on 7 Oct., 1571. The latter had 208 galleys and 66 small ships; the Christian fleet about the same number. The crusaders lost 17 ships and 7500 men; 15 Turkish ships were sunk and 177 taken, from 20,000 to 30,000 men disabled, and from 12,000 to 15,000 Christian rowers, slaves on the Turkish galleys, were delivered. Though this victory did not accomplish all that was hoped for, since the Turks appeared the very next year with a fleet of 250 ships before Modon and Cape Matapan, and in vain offered battle to the Christians, it was of great importance as being the first great defeat of the infidels on sea. Held by the Venetians from 1687 to 1689, and thence by the Turks until 1827, it became in the latter year part of the new Greek realm. Today Naupactus, chief town of a district in the province of Acarnania and Ætolia, has 4,500 inhabitants, all Orthodox Greeks. The roadstead is rather small and silted up; the strait connects the Bay of Patras with the Gulf of Corinth.

S. Vailhé.


Leprosy.—Leprosy proper, or lepra tuberculosa, in contradistinction to other skin diseases commonly designated by the Greek word λέπρα (psoriasis, etc.), is a chronic infectious disease caused by the bacillus lepræ, characterized by the formation of growths in the skin, mucous membranes, peripheral nerves, bones, and internal viscera, producing various deformities and mutilations of the human body, and usually terminating in death.

I. History of the Disease.—Leprosy was not uncommon in India as far back as the fifteenth century b. c. (Ctesias, Pers., xli; Herodian, I, i, 38), and in Japan during the tenth century b. c. Of its origin in these regions little is known, but Egypt has always been regarded as the place whence the disease was carried into the Western world. That it was well known in that country is evidenced by documents of the sixteenth century b. c. (Ebers Papyrus); ancient writers attribute the infection to the waters of the Nile (Lucretius, "De Nat. rer.", VI, 1112) and the unsanitary diet of the people (Galen) . Various causes helped to spread the disease beyond Egypt. Foremost among these causes Manetho places the Hebrews, for, according to him, they were a mass of leprosy of which the Egyptians rid their land ("Hist. Græc. Fragm.", ed. Didot, II, pp. 578-81). Though this is romance, there is no doubt but at the Exodus the contamination had affected the Hebrews. From Egypt Phœnician sailors also brought leprosy into Syria and the countries with which they had commercial relations, hence the name "Phœnician disease" given it by Hippocrates (Prorrhetics, II); this seems to be borne out by the fact that we find traces of it along the Ionian coasts about the eighth century b. c. (Hesiod, quoted by Eustathius in "Comment, on Odyss.", p. 1746), and in Persia towards the fifth century b. c. (Herodotus). The dispersion of the Jews after the Restoration (fifth century) and the campaigns of the Roman armies (Pliny, "Hist. Nat.", XXVI) are held responsible for the propagation of the disease in Western Europe: thus were the Roman colonies of Spain, Gaul, and Britain soon infected.

In Christian times the canons of the early councils (Ancyra, 314), the regulations of the popes (e. g., the famous letter of Gregory II to St. Boniface), the laws enacted by the Lombard King Rothar (seventh century), by Pepin and Charlemagne (eighth century), the erection of leper-houses at Verdun, Mets, Maestricht (seventh century), St. Gall (eighth century), and Canterbury (1096) bear witness to -the existence of the disease in Western Europe during the Middle Ages. The invasions of the Arabs and, later on, the Crusades greatly aggravated the scourge, which spared no station in life and attacked even royal families. Lepers were then subjected to most stringent regulations. They were excluded from the church by a funeral Mass and a symbolic burial (Martène, "De Rit. ant.," III, x). In every important community, asylums, mostly dedicated to St. Lazarus and attended by religious, were erected for the unfortunate victims. Matthew Paris (1197-1259) roughly estimated the number of these leper-houses in Europe at 19,000, France alone having about 2000, and England over a hundred. Such lepers as were not confined within these asylums had to wear a special garb, and carry "a wooden clapper to give warning of their approach. They were forbidden to enter inns, churches, mills, or bakehouses, to touch healthy persons or eat with them, to wash in the streams, or to walk in narrow footpaths" (Creighton). (See below: IV. Leprosy in the Middle Ages.) Owing to strict legislation, leprosy gradually disappeared, so that at the close of the seventeenth century it had become rare except in some few localities. At the same time it began to spread in the colonies of America and the islands of Oceanica. "It is endemic in Northern and Eastern Africa, Madagascar, Arabia, Persia, India, China and Japan, Russia, Norway and Sweden, Italy, Greece, France, Spain, in the islands of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is prevalent in central and South America, Mexico, in the West Indies, the Hawaiian and Philippine islands, Australia and New Zealand. It is also found in New Brunswick, Canada. In the United States, the majority of cases occur in Louisiana and California, while from many other States cases are occasionally reported, notably from New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Missouri, the Carolinas and Texas. In Louisiana leprosy has been gaining foothold since 1758, when it was introduced by the Acadians" (Dyer). According to the statistics furnished by delegates to the second international conference on leprosy (at Bergen, Norway, Sept., 1909), there are approximately 200,000 cases of the disease throughout the world: India, it is stated, coming first with 97,340 cases; the United States contributing 146 cases, and the Panama Canal Zone the minimum of 7 cases.

II. Patholooy.—How leprosy originated is unknown: bad nutrition, bad hygiene, constitutional conditions (tuberculosis, alcoholism, probably heredity, etc.) seem to favour its production and propagation. The disease is immediately caused by the infection of the bacillus lepræ, a small rod bacillus from .003 mm. to .007 mm. in length and .0005 mm. in diameter, straight or slightly curved, with pointed, rounded, or club-shaped extremities, usually found in short chains or beads. This bacillus, discovered in 1868 by Hansen, has been described since 1880 by many specialists, particularly by Byron, who succeeded in cultivating it in agar-agar (Ceylon moss). It is present in all leprous tissues and the secretions (urine excepted; Köbner claims to have seen it in the blood), and has been repeatedly observed in the earth taken from the graves of lepers (Brit. Lepr. Commission of India). There is on record only one case—and this somewhat doubtful—of leprosy communicated by artificial inoculation. As to whether it is contagious from person to person, this was for years a much mooted question among specialists; although a scientific demonstration of contagiousness is so far