Leprosy now: epidemiology, progress, challenges, and research gaps.

Rodrigues, LC; Lockwood, DNj; (2011) Leprosy now: epidemiology, progress, challenges, and research gaps. The Lancet infectious diseases, 11 (6). pp. 464-70. ISSN 1473-3099 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S1473-3099(11)70006-8

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Leprosy continues to be a challenge to health worldwide, with about 250?000 new cases being detected every year. Despite widespread implementation of effective multidrug therapy, leprosy has not been eliminated. A third of newly diagnosed patients have nerve damage and might develop disabilities, although the proportion varies according to several factors, including level of self-care. Women who develop leprosy continue to be especially disadvantaged, with rates of late diagnosis and disability remaining high in this subgroup. Leprosy was not a specified disease in the Millennium Development Goals, but improvements in the other areas they cover, such as education and levels of poverty, will help leprosy patients and services. We review data and make recommendations for research on diagnosis, treatment, and prevention, such as further use of molecular analysis of the Mycobacterium leprae genome, implementation of BCG vaccination, and administration of chemoprophylaxis to household contacts. We also suggest development of tools for early diagnosis and detection of infection and nerve damage, and formulation of strategies to manage the chronic complications of leprosy, such as immune-mediated reactions and neuropathy.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health > Dept of Infectious Disease Epidemiology
Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases > Dept of Clinical Research
Research Centre: Centre for Global Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs)
PubMed ID: 21616456
Web of Science ID: 291494500018
URI: http://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/id/eprint/699


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