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Rev Salud Publica (Bogota). 2007 Jul-Sep;9(3):430-8.

[Active search for leprosy and other skin diseases in school children from Agua de Dios, Colombia].

[Article in Spanish]

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Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de La Sabana, Bogotá, Colombia. gerzaí



Actively searching for leprosy, other skin diseases and BCG vaccination scars amongst school children from Agua de Dios, the municipality having the highest prevalence of leprosy in Colombia.


A clinical examination of the children was carried out by nurses, interns, general practitioners and experts on leprosy. Skin smear tests and skin biopsies were performed when the clinical findings suggested leprosy. Anti-phenolic glycolipid antibodies in blood were determined in special cases.


86 % of the 2 844 school children were examined; 833 had skin diseases and 16 % of these required evaluation by specialists. Four new cases of paucibacillary leprosy, two indeterminate and two primary polyneuritic cases were found. Pediculosis capitis, pityriasis alba, tinea versicolor, hypopigmented nevus, insect bites and miliaria were frequently detected. BCG vaccination scars were absent in 387 children; following several logistical problems, they were vaccinated. Four children had signs of childhood abuse. An 11-year-old girl presented hypopigmented mycosis fungoides. All diseases and conditions found were treated. The community received information regarding the results, emphasising the importance of an early diagnosis of leprosy.


The incidence of leprosy found (16/10,000) was 123 times higher than the rest of the country's incidence. It is advisable to continue clinical examinations in Agua de Dios and research into risk factors for acquiring leprosy.

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