ISSN - 0973-0958

Pediatric Oncall Journal View Article

Childhood Leprosy Revisited
Nerges Mistry1, Sanjana Kuruwa2, Shobha Pandya1, Renu Minda1, Vanaja Shetty1.
1The Foundation for Medical Research, Mumbai, India,
2Department of Microbiology, Bhavans Research Center, Bhavans College, Mumbai, India.
The number of new cases of leprosy reported in India has maintained its level since 2006. Considering the long incubation period of leprosy, the detection of childhood cases is an indication of recent and ongoing transmission of disease in the community. While the introduction of multidrug therapy (MDT) has been effective, it has yet not resulted in the hoped for reduction of childhood cases. The proportion of children with leprosy in India continues to be around 9.04%. Additionally, the diagnosis of multibacillary cases among children as well as cases with grade 2 disability indicate delayed detection due to a lack of recognition of the early signs of leprosy.
The present review flags multiple concerns and examines the current status of the epidemiology, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of childhood leprosy. Besides this, distressing physical consequences as well as its social and domestic repercussions are addressed. The phenomenon of childhood leprosy requires further scientific investigation with a focus on route of transmission, immunological anti - M. leprae responses in children and diagnostic aids. Rapid implementation of realistic strategies for prevention and early case detection combined with effective treatment are needed to reduce disease and deformity.

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