In the late 1800s, Hansen’s disease (also known as leprosy) was reaching epidemic proportions in the Hawaiian islands. Bacteria cause nerve damage in patients and can lead to crippling of the hands and feet, paralysis, and blindness. At the time, there was no cure and no known effective treatment, and health officials had no idea how the disease was spreading. This frightened officials in Hawaii, and in a desperate act to save their native populations, isolation seemed to be the only answer.
On this episode of the America's National Parks Podcast - Kalaupapa National Historical Park.