Health authorities detect 12 leprosy cases in district

House-to-house campaign to resume on January 30

Ashwamedham, the two-week house-to-house campaign held in December in the district to detect and eradicate leprosy by 2020, has identified 12 cases. The cases were detected during tests done on 4,383 people.

There could be more cases as not many people are willing to reveal their condition owing to the stigma attached to it, according to Health authorities.

Yearly statistics show the detection of an average of 35 new cases over the last three years.

The disease, which was believed to be on the decline, continues to be around as little attention has been given to eradicating it. Though curable, it could deform infected people if left untreated. Of the 12 cases detected, 10 are multibacillary (MB) type which may spread infection fast, while the remaining two are paucibacillary (PB) which have negligible chances of spreading infection.

The data also reveals that those affected include two women and five migrant workers.

New strategy needed

The Health authorities now have to devise strategy to screen all those who have been in contact with the infected persons.

The door-to-door campaign was successful in making people aware of the symptoms and visit a government hospital for confirmation and treatment, said K.R. Vidya, District Leprosy Officer and Deputy District Medical Officer. A two-week campaign will begin on January 30 to reach out to those who could not be covered in the previous campaign, she added.

The disease has a long incubation period from two to 20 years, the reason why infected persons develop symptoms much later. Mycobacterium leprae, the bacteria causing the disease, is also said to be a slow multiplier. A person’s immunity also helps in keeping the disease at bay, said Dr. Vidya.

The disease spreads through close contact, though the infection is air-borne. Disease-causing bacteria mostly reside in ears, nose, mouth, through, larynx and pharynx of infected persons.

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Printable version | Apr 7, 2020 4:07:08 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/health-authorities-detect-12-leprosy-cases-in-district/article26044999.ece

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