Volume 16 | Issue 13 | 15 | Jun. 24, 2002

The Leprosy Watcher

Armed with recent genomics data, Bill Levis ponders leprosy's immunological fork in the road--and awaits a government decision regarding his own career | By Tom Hollon

Graphic: Marlene J. Viola

Patients come to him by referral, dreading what they may hear after being poked and palpated and scrutinized by one puzzled doctor after another, until someone wondered ominously--Leprosy?--and called William R. Levis at Bellevue Hospital in New York. It is gut-wrenching to be labeled a leper, a word that has shed little of its ancient stigma. Patients are grateful their condition has another name, Hansen disease, and if they ever risk telling someone what they have, they pray that person won't be the sort to look things up in a dictionary.

At least there is comfort in knowing that Levis is the very...

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