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Rev Soc Bras Med Trop. 2010 May-Jun;43(3):287-92.

[Characteristics of leprosy reactions in paucibacillary and multibacillary individuals attended at two reference centers in Recife, Pernambuco].

[Article in Portuguese]

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Departamento de Dermatologia, Universidade de Pernambuco, Recife, PE, Brazil.



Significant reactions frequently occur among leprosy cases, and thus a significant proportion of leprosy patients present disabilities and undergo leprosy retreatment. Clinical-epidemiological characterization of reaction patterns is essential for managing such patients. Objective to describe the epidemiological and clinical characteristics of leprosy reactions among paucibacillary and multibacillary individuals.


In this cross-sectional study, 201 patients with histories of reactions who were attended at two reference centers for leprosy treatment were evaluated. Variables such as initial bacilloscopy, sex, age, skin phototype, origin, clinical presentation, type of treatment, type of reaction, final bacilloscopy index and time of reaction onset in relation to the treatment were evaluated. Statistical analysis was performed using simple frequencies. To calculate risk factors for multibacillary forms, univariate and multivariate analyses were performed.


Male sex, age between 30 and 44 years, phototype V, borderline clinical form, regular treatment, type I reaction, neuritis, presence of 10 to 20 nodules and onset of the leprosy reaction during the treatment were the most frequent findings.


Male patients predominated and were associated with greater risk of developing the multibacillary forms. Leprosy reactions occurred most frequently during the treatment. Multibacillary patients were more likely to need leprosy retreatment, and those with type I and type II reactions presented greater frequency of neuritis, lymphadenopathy, arthritis and iritis than did those with isolated reactions.

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