The biblical portrayal of leprosy is believed to be preventing people from seeking treatment for the disease in the developing world.
A survey conducted by UK-based charity Lepra also revealed that 30% of people in the UK have a severe lack of knowledge about the debilitating disease, which is fully treatable.
Leprosy is a chronic condition that damages the nerves, resulting in a loss of sensation and disability, including blindness. It affects some of the poorest people in the world.
Speaking to Premier, Sarah Nancollas, chief executive of Lepra, said: "What prevents people coming forward is the stigma attached to the disease and actually some of that does does date back to its biblical portrayals."
The disease still affects up to three million people worldwide, with nearly 216,000 people diagnosed last year. Despite this, Lepra claims few Brits donate to health charities that operate internationally.
Sarah Nancollas, Lepra:
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