Was Spinalonga The Leper Island A Terrifying Colony Of Real Zombies?
Leprosy - The Causes
It is known today that leprosy, also known as lepra or Hansen's disease, is caused by a bacterial infection, namely Mycobacterium leprae attacking the nerves, respiratory tract, skin, and eyes. The infection occurs most often through droplets, and the infection is mainly exposed to people with a weak immune system and those living in areas where there is no access to clean water or medical help, which causes the disease to spread quickly. Even in the mid-1980s, leprosy suffered as many as 12 million people a year, worldwide, and nowadays infections are much less common thanks to medications and medical treatments recommended by the World Health Organization.
Spinalonga - Living Conditions
However, before the causes of the disease were known more closely and the cures for leprosy were discovered, the disease was widely disgusted and dreaded. The sick were isolated to the outskirts of towns and villages and placed in leprosariums, such as in Spinalonga. The sick were sent to the island to leave this world in agony. They were brought in handcuffs like prisoners and under the escort of the Crete police. In addition, people with minor diseases, such as psoriasis, were also sent there, because the doctors of that time misdiagnosed them with leprosy. The sick had inhuman conditions on the island, steep slopes and numerous stairs made it impossible for people with deformed limbs to move. For this reason, most of them were unable to reach the spacious houses located deep in Spinalonga and therefore crowded into small buildings closer to the coast. The island had no electricity or even running water, and its only source was old cisterns, dirty and full of germs.