Leprosy may seem to belong to biblical times, but it's a mistake
to believe the disease has been wiped off the planet.
There are still at least a quarter-million cases detected and
probably at least double that number are not reported because of
the stigma attached to the crippling disease. American Leprosy
Missions spokesman Bill Simmons believes the Church is uniquely
positioned to deal with leprosy because many times no one else will
try. About 90 percent of the cases are in India, Brazil, and
"There are 130 or so countries around the world that still have
leprosy [cases]," Simmons tells OneNewsNow. "In fact, even in the
U.S., I think last year, 34 states in the U.S. documented one new
case of leprosy."
The disease is caused by bacteria and is treated with a course
of antibiotics. If left unchecked, it damages the nerves and leads
to disabilities, loss of limbs and sight. Simmons notes part of
Jesus' ministry was healing lepers.
"We feel like the ministry of working with people affected by
leprosy is at the heart of what the Church can engage in,
continuing to perpetuate the ministry and the Messiah-ship of
Christ," he says.
"As a Church, we continue to demonstrate to the world that the
Messiah is alive and well and works in and through the Church."
Donors not only assist in delivering the treatment for it and
the gospel, but American Leprosy Missions has almost totally funded
development of a vaccine for leprosy that will go to clinical
treatment within the next year.