LEPROSY is a bacterial disease that destroys the peripheral and motor nerves. If left untreated, it can lead to a painful inflammation of the kidneys, the anaesthetising of extremities, deformity and incurable blindness. Physical injury and impairment of circulation results in muscular atrophy, absorption of cartilage, eroding ulcers, monstrous chronic infections and their accompanying fevers. Rot, very literally, sets in. It is easy to forget that leprosy as an active disease is a reality for millions of people in the world today because it vanished from Britain in 1798, although the last leprosy wing in a Norwegian health institute was not closed until the 1970s. And yet, with still no vaccine, one person is officially diagnosed with leprosy every fifty seconds, making some 2,000 new cases every day, and some 600,000 every year. The World Health Organisation estimates that, between 2010 and 2020, a further 7.5 million people will be infected. Leprosy remains most prominent in areas of poor hygiene, overcrowding and poor nutrition, in populations whose immune systems have been significantly weakened.