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Experimental lepromatous leprosy in the white handed gibbon hylobates lar successful inoculation with leprosy bacilli of human origin



Experimental lepromatous leprosy in the white handed gibbon hylobates lar successful inoculation with leprosy bacilli of human origin



British Journal of Experimental Pathology 59(6): 551-557



Leprosy bacilli of human origin were inoculated into a white-handed gibbon by the i.v. and i.p. routes and locally into ears, testis and around an ulnar nerve. The animal was observed closely during a period of nearly 15 yr and did not exhibit any clinical evidence of cutaneous or neurological disease. At death, a wide range of tissues was taken for bacterial counts and histological examination, and a disseminated and progressive infection was demonstrated. Acid-fast bacilli were found in many sites; their morphological appearance, distribution in nerves, pattern of multiplication in mouse footpads, and the presence of anti-mycobacterial antibody in the serum and the absence of specific lymphocyte transformation were all in keeping with an infection by Mycobacterium leprae, at an early lepromatous stage. This is probably the 1st fully documented report of experimental lepromatous infection in a primate. The long incubation period of lepromatous leprosy and the difficulties of diagnosing the disease at an early stage in man are discussed.

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Accession: 005424287

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PMID: 371653



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