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Leprosy in spotlight


Why is Leprosy back in news?

a) There has been a  rise in the number of recorded leprosy cases from 2013-14 to  2017-18.

b) India was declared leprosy-free in 2005.

c) The number of cases reported fell after 2005-06, when India was declared leprosy-free .The prevalence rate at the time was 0.84%.

d) The World Health Organization (WHO) has set the goal of zero children with leprosy and deformities by 2020 and less than one patient per million for other newly diagnosed patients.

 Which of the States are affected most by Leprosy?

 a) Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Maharashtra remain the hotspots.

b) High population density, poor sanitation and inadequate access to nutrition are among the reasons for the number remaining high.

How different is the present approach taken by the Government of India?

a) Disease management efforts now include going down to the village level in active seeking mode for cases.

b) Here, health workers go from house to house and physically examine people for a leprosy patch.

c) Earlier, many cases were missing because people were not reporting due to fear, social stigma and lack of awareness.

What are the challenges involved in treatment of Leprosy ?

a) Leprosy is a chronic disease caused by a bacillus, Mycobacterium leprae, which multiplies slowly.

b) The incubation period of the disease on average is five years.

c) In some cases, symptoms may occur within one year but can also take as long as 20 years to occur.

d) This is the trouble with the elimination of leprosy.

e) The long incubation period and the social stigma attached to it makes it a tough disease to eliminate.

f) Leprosy mainly affects the skin, the peripheral nerves, mucosa of the upper respiratory tract, and also the eyes.

g) The disease is transmitted via droplets, from the nose and mouth, during close and frequent contacts with untreated cases.

h) Untreated leprosy can cause progressive and permanent damage to the skin, nerves, limbs and eyes. It is curable with multi-drug therapy (MDT).

Who are more vulnerable in Leprosy cases?

a) Special emphasis is on children with primary health workers educating them from the school-level onward.

b) In 2016-17, the proportion of new child cases was more than 10% of the new cases.

c) Children are not predisposed to leprosy .

d) There is an element of risk in late detection with parents hiding the disease especially in the case of girls till the handicap sets in.

e) Disability in children has a longer lifespan which can hamper their quality of life.

Source- The Hindu