International Leprosy Association -
History of Leprosy

  • International Leprosy Association -
    History of Leprosy


    Dr Bernard Moiser

    Status Physician
    Country United Kingdom


    Bernard Moiser, OBE, MD, MRCS, LRCP, DPH (1880-1965) was a leprosy specialist in Southern Rhodesia and medical superintendent of the leprosarium at Ngomahuru, Southern Rhodesia for 17 years. Was, for many years, a Councillor of the International Leprosy Association, and a strong supporter of The Star. In 1906 he joined the West African Medical Service in Nigeria where he was to remain for 20 years. He had an investigative spirit and stood above the criticism leveled at him, steadily pursuing his convictions.
    International Journal of Leprosy, Centennial Festskrift edition, Vol 41, No 2. 1973.

    The above biographical source asserts that Dr Moiser believed that leprosy was transmitted by cockroaches and that it was neither contagious nor infectious. This statement appears to be incorrect, at least for 1938. In his Moiser's own words (from an article from that year):

    "Beer drinks are a national institution in the country [i.e. Southern Rhodesia]. They occur frequently and lepers are invited and are treated in no way differently from other guests. I have come to the conclusion that beer drinks are the main cause of the dissemination of the disease, and have suggested that lepers should be rigidly excluded, and given their beer in other places by themselves."
    Source: "British Empire Leprosarium", The British Journal of Nursing, Nov 1938: 304, cited from from an article by Dr Moiser in the Leprosy Review, [1938].

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