PENNA, Maria Lúcia Fernandes; PENNA, Gerson Oliveira. Leprosy frequency in the world, 1999-2010. Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, Rio de Janeiro, v. 107, suppl. 1, p. 3-12, dez. 2012. Disponível em Scielo

In 1991, the World Health Organization (WHO) committed to reducing the prevalence of leprosy to below 1 in 10,000 inhabitants by 2000. Significant improvements in leprosy control have occurred, but leprosy remains a public health problem in many countries due to its high incidence and rate of transmission. This paper reviews data published by the WHO in the years 2000, 2005 and 2010. These data sets included 148 countries or territories that reported to the WHO at least once. Only four countries reported higher prevalence rates in 2010 than in 2000 and eight reported higher case detection rate (CDR) in 2009 than in 1999. Prevalence rate reductions were greater for the first five-year period examined, while CDR reductions were greater in the second five-year period. Thirty-six countries and territories reported at least one prevalence value higher than 1 per 10,000 inhabitants and 32 reported at least one CDR value higher than 9 per 100,000 inhabitants. A total of 39 countries fit at least one of these criteria and all were located in tropical regions.


SARNO, Euzenir Nunes et al. Leprosy exposure, infection and disease: a 25-year surveillance study of leprosy patient contacts. Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, Rio de Janeiro, v. 107, n. 8, p. 1054-1059, dez. 2012. Disponível em Scielo

Contact surveillance is a valuable strategy for controlling leprosy. A dynamic cohort study of leprosy contacts was initiated in 1987 at Oswaldo Cruz Foundation. The objective of this work was to review the data on the major risk factors leading up to the infectious stage of the disease, estimate incidence rates of leprosy in the cohort and characterise the risk factors for the disease among the contacts under surveillance. The incidence rate of leprosy among contacts of leprosy patients was estimated at 0.01694 cases per person-year in the first five years of follow-up. The following factors were associated with acquiring the disease: (i) not receiving the BCG vaccine, (ii) a negative Mitsuda reaction and (iii) contact with a patient with a multibacillary clinical form of leprosy. The contacts of index patients who had high bacilloscopic index scores > 1 were at especially high risk of infection. The following factors were associated with infection, which was defined as a seropositive reaction for anti-phenolic glicolipid-1 IgM: (i) young age (< 20 years), (ii) a low measured Mitsuda reaction (< 5 mm) and (iii) contact with an index patient who had a high bacilloscopic index. BCG vaccination and re-vaccination were shown to be protective among household contacts. The main conclusions of this study indicate an urgent need for additional leprosy control strategies in areas with a high incidence of the disease.


BARRETO, Josafá Gonçalves et al. High rates of undiagnosed leprosy and subclinical infection amongst school children in the Amazon Region. Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, Rio de Janeiro, v. 107, suppl. 1, p. 60-67, dez. 2012. Disponível em Scielo

Leprosy in children is correlated with community-level factors, including the recent presence of disease and active foci of transmission in the community. We performed clinical and serological examinations of 1,592 randomly selected school children (SC) in a cross-sectional study of eight hyperendemic municipalities in the Brazilian Amazon Region. Sixty-three (4%) SC, with a mean age of 13.3 years (standard deviation = 2.6), were diagnosed with leprosy and 777 (48.8%) were seropositive for anti-phenolic glycolipid-I (PGL-I). Additionally, we evaluated 256 house-hold contacts (HHCs) of the students diagnosed with leprosy; 24 (9.4%) HHC were also diagnosed with leprosy and 107 (41.8%) were seropositive. The seroprevalence of anti-PGL-I was significantly higher amongst girls, students from urban areas and students from public schools (p < 0.0001). Forty-five (71.4%) new cases detected amongst SC were classified as paucibacillary and 59 (93.6%) patients did not demonstrate any degree of physical disability at diagnosis. The results of this study suggest that there is a high rate of undiagnosed leprosy and subclinical infection amongst children in the Amazon Region. The advantages of school surveys in hyperendemic areas include identifying leprosy patients at an early stage when they show no physical disabilities, preventing the spread of the infection in the community and breaking the chain of transmission.