At its peak there were about 1,200 exiled here. Now there are only a few who are living out their life thanks to entertainer Don Ho and a few others that encouraged the state legislature to keep the facility from closing entirely. There are no active cases of leprosy now but many of those that suffered from it were physically scarred to an extent that coming back into the mainstream society would be very difficult
Leprosy, which is also know as Hansen's disease is a chronic infection cased by a certain bacteria and treatment for it is now successful with certain drugs. Until this was discovered and understood in the 1940's this disease effected millions of people all over the world.
Being sent to a leper colony was simply a death sentence even in Hawaii.