11th Century: Leprosy

11th Century: Leprosy

Though it had been around for ages, leprosy grew into a pandemic in Europe in the Middle Ages.
A slow-developing bacterial disease that causes sores and deformities, leprosy was believed to be a punishment from God that ran in families. This belief led to moral judgments and ostracization of victims. Now known as Hansen’s disease, it still afflicts tens of thousands of people a year and can be fatal if not treated with antibiotics.

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