102 cases of Leprosy registered in Larkana

RATODERO: These cases belong to Kambar-Shahdadkot district and Dokri taluka of Larkana. Incharge Leprosy Centre Larkana, Dr Farooq Soomro, told PPI that all these cases are provided free of cost medicines for their treatment at OPD and their residences as well by Marie Adelaide Leprosy Centre, Karachi, which is a charitable organization working worldwide for the elimination of Leprosy.

He further said that some of these cases have been treated, while others are on treatment and added that due to their untiring efforts, the cases have started reducing.

Leprosy is a slowly progressive infection caused by Mycobacterium leprae that mainly affects the skin and peripheral nerves. The disease results in disabling deformities and occurs worldwide, with most cases in the tropical areas of Asia and Africa.

The high incidence in the tropics is related to the overcrowding and not because of the climate. According to WHO estimation, there were 407,791 new diagnosed cases of leprosy in 2004. The pattern of disease varies between relatively few skin lesions of tuberculoid form and multiple lesions of lepromatous form.

Damage of nerve can be seen in any stage and it may occur early in tuberculoid form, more insidious in lepromatous form. A marked nerve damage and subsequent limb disability and deformity can also be present in patients with acute inflammatory response to M leprae called lepra reactions.

Few general practitioners in developing countries like Pakistan are aware and have experience dealing with leprosy. Conversely, prompt recognition and treatment are essential to limit morbidity and loss of quality of life in leprosy patients. Considering this paradox, this study was designed to present the demographic characteristics, clinical types and manifestations of leprosy patients belonging to Larkano region. Record of all new patients with leprosy attended the Leprosy Centre of Larkano from 2001-2011 were evaluated.

The information included patient’s age, gender, place of birth, type of skin lesions, distribution of lesions, involvement of peripheral nerves, nose and pinna and eyebrow hair loss etc. Laboratory diagnosis of bacterial index (BI) for acid fast bacilli, and result of BI for AFB was based on cardinal sign of leprosy, supported by AFB in slit skin smear. For treatment purpose WHO recommended regimen was used. Larkano region is one of the endemic areas of leprosy in Pakistan, but early registration, compliance with multiple drug therapy has led to the reduction of the disease.

In this study, a total of 102 patients of leprosy were evaluated where prevalence of borderline tuberculoid (BT) leprosy was found significantly higher in females than males. Results of our observations were similar to other studies carried out at national and international level.

However, our study included only those patients who were residents of rural areas of Larkano region where people reside in very different and less developed conditions as compared to other studies.

The diagnosis of leprosy should be considered in cases of chronic skin lesions with peripheral nerve involvement. Leprosy can be a complicated and challenging disease to manage therefore suspected cases should be referred to specialists/dermatologists for proper and specific management. Although the incidence of leprosy has decreased in recent years; however, it is still far away from being completely eradicated.

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