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Detection of Active Leprosy Cases in India

What Is Leprosy?


According to the latest report by the Leprosy Mission Trust India, the Covid-19 pandemic and its ensuing recommendations on social distancing and lockdowns caused a fall of 62.5% in the detection of active leprosy cases between April and September 2020 in four States — Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh.

  • The second wave has put brakes on the Leprosy Case Detection Campaign and the scope for getting healthcare and disability management services in institutional setup reduced.
  • Further, the pandemic highlighted that the ‘vulnerable population’ is not a homogenous entity.
  • Their vulnerability is sometimes a complex intersection of different social variables: poverty, disability, stigma, exclusion, etc.
  • Leprosy is Bacterial Infection
  • Leprosy is a chronic, progressive bacterial infection. It is caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium Leprae, which is an acid-fast rod-shaped bacillus.
  • It is also known as Hansen’s Disease.
  • It is one of the oldest diseases in recorded history, afflicting humanity since time immemorial.
    Areas of Infection: Skin, Peripheral nerves, Upper respiratory tract and Lining of the nose
  • It is a disease that leaves a terrifying image in its wake of mutilation, rejection, and exclusion from society.
  • Mode of Transmission: Mainly by breathing airborne droplets from the affected individuals. It can be contacted at any age.
  • Symptoms:
    • Red patches on the skin.
    • Skin Lesion
    • Numbness in arms, hands, and legs.
    • Ulcers on the soles of feet.
    • Muscle Weakness and excessive weight loss.
  • Long Incubation Period: It usually takes about 3-5 years for symptoms to appear after coming into contact with Leprosy causing bacteria.
  • The long incubation period makes it difficult for doctors to determine when and where the person got infected.
  • Cure: Leprosy is curable with the combination of drugs known as Multi-Drug Therapy (MDT)