So I’ve been meaning to post something about a pathology which effects the skull and my mind’s always jumped to ‘rhinomaxillary syndrome’. This occurs with leprosy and causes the nasal spine and maxilla to resorb and pitting on the palatine bone (roof of the mouth).
As leprosy is a disease of the soft tissue it can be hugely disfiguring and unpleasant. It is caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium leprae and transmitted by repository droplets. It is not highly infectious and the majority of people are naturally immune to the bacteria.
Although it is a disease of the soft tissue it is only in severe causes where evidence of the disease is left on the bones. In addition to rhinomaxillary syndrome the phalanges (fingers and toes) will also resorb. This can make it very difficult for it to be identified in past populations.
For more info please see The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Human Paleopathology, BONE CHANGES IN LEPROSY and for more pictures of a skull which has been affected by leprosy click here.