14- Leprosy and ‘The Leper King’

Happy new year! In our inaugural episode of 2021, we’re going to go back to the 1100s and focus on the famous case of the Leper King Baldwin IV, who ruled as king of Jerusalem from 1174 to 1185. What exactly is leprosy, and what causes it? We’ll use the test case of Baldwin as an opening to talking a bit about the bug Mycobacterium leprae and how exactly leprosy works.

Sources for this episode: 1) Guerrero-Peral, A. L. (2009), Neurological manifestations of the leprosy of King Baldwin IV of Jerusalem. Revista de Neurologica 49(8). 2) Turner, J. J., Hektoen International, The remarkable Baldwin IV: leper and king of Jerusalem (online). 3) Fullick A., Locke, J. and Bircher, P. (2015), A Level Biology for OCR A. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 4) Author unknown, Microbiology Society (2014), Mycobacterium leprae, the cause of leprosy.(online) [Accessed 11/12/2020] 5) Abel, L., Sánchez, F. O., Oberti, J., Thuc, N. V., Van Hoa, L., Lap, V. D., Skamene, E., Lagrange, P. H. and Schurr, E. (1998), Susceptibility to Leprosy Is Linked to the Human NRAMP1 Gene. The Journal of Infectious Diseases 177: 133- 145. This paper is from 1998 not 1997- apologies, I read the wrong date on the paper!

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