|Microphotograph of Mycobacterium leprae taken from a skin lesion. Source: CDC|
Mycobacterium leprae is a bacteria. It is causes the disease, leprosy, also known as Hanson's Disease. The bacterium was discovered in 1873 by a Norwegian doctor named Gerhard Armauer Hansen. M. leprae is a gram-positive, aerobic rod surrounded by the characteristic waxy coating unique to Mycobacteria. In size and shape, it closes resembles M. tuberculosis. Due to its thick, waxy coating, stains with carbol-fuchsin are used, rather than with the traditional Gram staining method.