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History of the National Hansen's Disease (Leprosy) Program


This tract of land is purchased by Robert Coleman Camp; Camp grows sugar cane using the labor of 100 enslaved Africans.


An exposé published in the Daily Picayune newspaper creates an outcry in New Orleans—the public demands that “pest houses” in the city housing leprosy patients move out of the city limits.


Public outcry prevents the Louisiana Leper Home from relocating to the New Orleans area.  The State of Louisiana decides to purchase the Indian Camp property (350 acres) in December.


The surrounding community, called Island, Louisiana, is re-designated as “Carville” by the U.S. Postmaster General to clear up confusion in U.S. postal delivery (Louisiana has many towns with Island in its name).  Louis Carville was the local postmaster.


The "Home" is sold by the State of Louisiana to the United States Federal Government for $35,000.


Patients’ rights to vote in Louisiana elections are restored.


The hospital establishes departments of Rehabilitation, Training, and Education.

Patients are allowed to marry. Patients’ dormitories are remodeled to accommodate couples.


All patient admissions to Carville become voluntary.


Outpatient clinics are opened around the United States. Hansen’s disease officially becomes an outpatient diagnosis.


Carville Historic District is placed on the National Register of Historic Places by the National Park Service.


The Center’s Laboratory Research Branch moves to the Louisiana State University (LSU) School of Veterinary Medicine in Baton Rouge.


Centennial Commemoration (1894-1994)–Recognition of the 100 year anniversary of the first patients’ arrival at “Carville”.


The U.S. Congress passes a bill, authored by Congressman Richard Baker (R-LA), to relocate the Gillis W. Long Hansen’s Disease Center to Baton Rouge, Louisiana.


The armadillo is recognized as model for studying the nerve damage caused by leprosy infection.


A second strain of leprosy bacteria shared by armadillos and patients is discovered in the Southeastern United States.


Molecular diagnostic tests to detect leprosy bacteria are implemented as standard of care at the NHDP.


Safety and efficacy studies performed by the NHDP Laboratory support advancement of a new leprosy vaccine into Phase 1 Clinical trials.

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