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Lepr Rev. 2015 Dec;86(4):307-15.

Leprosy: a review on elimination, reducing the disease burden, and future research.


Leprosy, one of the oldest diseases known to man, is a stigmatising, potentially disabling disease. Throughout history, leprosy has been associated with fear, prejudice and immense social stigma. It remains one of the leading causes of deformity and physical disability from an infectious disease. Tremendous advances in leprosy control were made by the World Health Organization, and the 'elimination of leprosy', defined as a decrease of disease prevalence to less than 1 case per 10,000 population, was achieved by 2000. However, the reality is that true 'elimination' is yet to be achieved. Despite almost 30 years of effective multidrug treatment, the prevalence and incidence of leprosy have plateaued since 2005. Moreover, new cases with Grade 2 disability and new cases occurring in children remain unchanged since 2010, reflecting a failure in early leprosy detection, and indicating that transmission is clearly continuing. This review examines the challenges of elimination, and proposes further measures to reduce the disease burden, including future research possibilities.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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