Leprosy, also known as Hansen disease, is a disabling chronic and infectious disease that affects the skin and the peripheral nerves. It has a huge effect on public health of communities and nations as a whole. Since 1981, the introduction of antibacterial multidrug therapy has significantly decreased cases of leprosy on a worldwide scale. However, some countries like Morocco continue to have transmission of leprosy until the implementation of a new program.
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Now, cases of leprosy has declined in Morocco by more than 16 percent since 2012. This decline is due to the introduction of program involving a preventative drug according to a report published in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases. The drug involves a single dose of rifampicin and was introduced through the Single Dose Rifampicin Chemoprophylaxis (SDRC) program with the goal of decreasing the spread of leprosy through household contacts.
The leprosy cases were analyzed each year between 2000 and 2017 with data involving age, gender, origin, region, and grade of disability of leprosy patients. Results show that between 2000 and 2012, before the SDRC program, the leprosy cases was -4.68% per year. Now, between 2012 and 2017--after implementing SDRC the annual percent change per year was -16.83%.
Outpatients department. Kenitra Hospital.
Credit: Mary Gillham Archive Project, Flickr, CC BY 2.0, 2017 via MedicalXpress
"This time series can be of interest for the medical community as the authors analyze the trends in leprosy in the last 17 years and try to generate a hypothesis about any relationship with chemoprophylaxis implementation," the researchers say.