ResearchPad - leprosy https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Investigating barriers and challenges to the integrated management of neglected tropical skin diseases in an endemic setting in Nigeria]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13828 Community perceptions of causation of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) of the skin may play an important role in access to or utilization of health services. The World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended empowerment of populations affected by or at risk of NTDs in control interventions. Furthermore, the WHO recommends that social mobilisation needs to be maintained in order to create demand for integrated management of skin NTDs and to address specific community aspects and concerns related to the diseases. There are no studies on community knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) on skin NTDs co-occurring in the same community in Nigeria. We surveyed community members and health workers and also held group discussions with community members, health workers and individuals with lymphatic filariasis and Buruli ulcer in order to assess their understanding of the causes, treatment and effects of the skin NTDs (leprosy, Buruli ulcer and lymphatic filariasis) which were all occurring in the study communities. There was a shared understanding that these NTDs were caused by germ/infection or through witchcraft/curse/poison. Also, a substantial proportion of the community believed that these conditions are not amenable to treatment. The focus group discussions reinforced these findings.

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<![CDATA[Surveillance of Leprosy in Kiribati, 1935–2017 ]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N930b6294-93b5-4faf-b9ba-0c9781027fea

In Kiribati, unlike most countries, high and increasing numbers of cases of leprosy have been reported despite the availability of multidrug therapy and efforts to improve case finding and management. Historic records show that 28 cases had been identified by 1925. A systematic population survey in 1997 identified 135 new cases; the mean incidence rate for 1993–1997 was 7.4/10,000 population. After administering mass chemoprophylaxis, the country reached the elimination threshold (prevalence <1/10,000), but case numbers have rebounded. The mean annualized rate of new cases in 2013–2017 was 15/10,000 population, with the highest new case rates (>20/10,000 population) in the main population centers of South Tarawa and Betio. Spread is expected to continue in areas where crowding and poor socioeconomic conditions persist and may accelerate as sea levels rise from climate change. New initiatives to improve social conditions are needed, and efforts such as postexposure chemoprophylaxis should be implemented to prevent spread.

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<![CDATA[Differential immunoglobulin and complement levels in leprosy prior to development of reversal reaction and erythema nodosum leprosum]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c58d665d5eed0c484031d84

Background

Leprosy is a treatable infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae. However, there is additional morbidity from leprosy-associated pathologic immune reactions, reversal reaction (RR) and erythema nodosum leprosum (ENL), which occur in 1 in 3 people with leprosy, even with effective treatment of M. leprae. There is currently no predictive marker in use to indicate which people with leprosy will develop these debilitating immune reactions. Our peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) transcriptome analysis revealed that activation of the classical complement pathway is common to both RR and ENL. Additionally, differential expression of immunoglobulin receptors and B cell receptors during RR and ENL support a role for the antibody-mediated immune response during both RR and ENL. In this study, we investigated B-cell immunophenotypes, total and M. leprae-specific antibodies, and complement levels in leprosy patients with and without RR or ENL. The objective was to determine the role of these immune mediators in pathogenesis and assess their potential as biomarkers of risk for immune reactions in people with leprosy.

Methodology/findings

We followed newly diagnosed leprosy cases (n = 96) for two years for development of RR or ENL. They were compared with active RR (n = 35), active ENL (n = 29), and healthy household contacts (n = 14). People with leprosy who subsequently developed ENL had increased IgM, IgG1, and C3d-associated immune complexes with decreased complement 4 (C4) at leprosy diagnosis. People who developed RR also had decreased C4 at leprosy diagnosis. Additionally, elevated anti-M. leprae antibody levels were associated with subsequent RR or ENL.

Conclusions

Differential co-receptor expression and immunoglobulin levels before and during immune reactions intimate a central role for humoral immunity in RR and ENL. Decreased C4 and elevated anti-M. leprae antibodies in people with new diagnosis of leprosy may be risk factors for subsequent development of leprosy immune reactions.

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<![CDATA[“If you will counsel properly with love, they will listen”: A qualitative analysis of leprosy affected patients’ educational needs and caregiver perceptions in Nepal]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c648cc8d5eed0c484c817a0

Background

Leprosy remains a disease of concern in many countries including Nepal. To achieve the target of elimination, the WHO strategy promotes comprehensive education of patients, healthcare workers (HCWs), and the public on leprosy-related issues. However most educational programs are based on the concerns of HCWs and not on patients’ needs. The objective of this paper is to explore the educational needs of leprosy affected patients in Nepal and compare them to the needs perceived by HCWs.

Methodology/principal findings

Semi directive interviews were conducted with patients and HCWs. The data was analyzed using the basic interpretative qualitative framework. The study was conducted in two leprosy referral centers, one university hospital and one primary health care center: Lalgadh Leprosy Hospital and Services Centre, Anandaban Hospital and its satellite clinic in Patan, B. P. Koirala Institute of Health Sciences in Dharan, and the Itahari primary health care centre.

The results show that there remains a lack of knowledge regarding the disease (origins, manifestations, prevention and treatment) contributing to late care seeking behavior and high levels of stigma, with an important psychological and financial stress for patients. All of the HCWs displayed a good understanding of patients’ difficulties and needs and acknowledged the key role of patient education. However, they expressed several challenges in managing patients due to lack of time, human resources and training in patient education.

Conclusions/significance

Further efforts need to be made to increase patients’ general knowledge of the disease in order to motivate them to seek healthcare earlier and change their perception of the disease to reduce stigma. HCWs need proper training in patient education and counseling for them to acquire the necessary skills required to address the different educational needs of their patients. The use of lay and peer counselors would be an option to address the workload and lack of time expressed by HCWs.

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<![CDATA[Setting targets for HIV/AIDS—What lessons can be learned from other disease control programmes?]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c61e93ad5eed0c48496fa33

In a Collection Review, Richard Hayes and colleagues discuss metrics for assessing progress in control of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the context of prior disease control programmes.

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<![CDATA[Community knowledge, attitude, and perceived stigma of leprosy amongst community members living in Dhanusha and Parsa districts of Southern Central Nepal]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c424369d5eed0c4845e00dc

Background

Though Nepal declared leprosy elimination in 2010, its burden is constantly rising in Terai communities for the past 2 years with 3000 new leprosy cases being diagnosed annually. Community’s perception is important for prevention and control of leprosy and enhancing quality of life of leprosy patients. Poor knowledge, unfavorable attitude and stigma create a hindrance to leprosy control. The main objective of this study was to assess the knowledge, attitude and stigma of leprosy amongst the community members living in Dhanusha and Parsa districts of Southern Central Nepal.

Methods

A total of 423 individuals were interviewed using a structured questionnaire in Dhanusha and Parsa districts. Data was analyzed using both descriptive (frequency, percentage, median) and statistical inferences (Chi-square test, Kruskal Wallis H test, Mann Whitney U test, binary logistic regression) using SPSSvs20.

Results

All respondents had heard about leprosy. Source of information on leprosy was mainly found to be health workers/hospitals (33.1%). Only 62.6% reported bacteria being its cause followed by other myths such as bad blood/curse/heredity/bad deeds (36%). Only 43.8% responded that leprosy is transmitted by prolonged close contact with leprosy patients and 25.7% reported religious rituals as the treatment. Only 42.1% had good knowledge and 40.9% had favorable attitude. Good knowledge of leprosy was highly associated with favorable attitude towards leprosy (P<0.001). The outcome variables- knowledge, attitude and EMIC score were found to have highly significant association with age, sex, ethnicity, religion, education and occupation of the respondents (P<0.001). Having knowledge on leprosy transmission was positively associated with favorable attitude towards leprosy (P<0.001).

Conclusions

Strategizing the awareness programmes according to socio-demographic characteristics for enhancing the knowledge regarding leprosy cause, symptoms, transmission, prevention and treatment, can foster the positive community attitude towards leprosy affected persons. Enhancing positive attitude towards leprosy affected persons can reduce the community stigma, thus may increase their participation in the community. Positive attitude may further increase their early health seeking behaviour including their quality of life.

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<![CDATA[The effects of prednisolone treatment on serological responses and lipid profiles in Ethiopian leprosy patients with Erythema Nodosum Leprosum reactions]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c2fcf50d5eed0c484a6e0c2

Background

Erythema nodosum leprosum (ENL) is a systemic inflammatory complication occurring mainly in patients with lepromatous leprosy (LL) and borderline lepromatous leprosy (BL). Prednisolone is widely used for treatment of ENL reactions. However, it has been reported that prolonged treatment with prednisolone increases the risk for prednisolone-induced complications such as osteoporosis, diabetes, cataract and arteriosclerosis. It has been speculated that perhaps these complications result from lipid profile alterations by prednisolone. The effects of extended prednisolone treatment on lipid profiles in ENL patients have not been studied in leprosy patients with ENL reactions. Therefore, in this study we conducted a case-control study to investigate the changes in lipid profiles and serological responses in Ethiopian patients with ENL reaction after prednisolone treatment.

Methods

A prospective matched case–control study was employed to recruit 30 patients with ENL and 30 non-reactional LL patient controls at ALERT Hospital, Ethiopia. Blood samples were obtained from each patient with ENL reaction before and after prednisolone treatment as well as from LL controls. The serological host responses to PGL-1, LAM and Ag85 M. leprae antigens were measured by ELISA. Total cholesterol (TC), triglyceride (TG), high density lipoprotein (HDL) and low density lipoprotein (LDL) were measured by spectrophotometric method.

Results

The host antibody response to M. leprae PGL-1, LAM and Ag85 antigens were significantly reduced in patients with ENL reactions compared to LL controls after treatment. Comparison between patients with acute and chronic ENL showed that host-response to PGL-1 was significantly reduced in chronic ENL after prednisolone treatment. Untreated patients with ENL reactions had low lipid concentration compared to LL controls. However, after treatment, both groups had comparable lipid profiles except for LDL, which was significantly higher in patients with ENL reaction. Comparison within the ENL group before and after treatment showed that prednisolone significantly increased LDL and HDL levels in ENL patients and this was more prominent in chronic ENL than in acute patients with ENL.

Conclusion

The significantly increased prednisolone-induced LDL and TG levels, particularly in patients with chronic ENL reactions, is a concern in the use of prednisolone for extended periods in ENL patients. The findings highlight the importance of monitoring lipid profiles during treatment of patients to minimize the long-term risk of prednisolone-induced complications.

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<![CDATA[Does appreciative inquiry decrease false positive diagnosis during leprosy case detection campaigns in Bihar, India? An operational research study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c269765d5eed0c48470f692

Background

India contributes ~60% to the global leprosy burden. The country implements 14-day community-based leprosy case detection campaigns (LCDC) periodically in all high endemic states. Paramedical staff screen the population and medical officers of primary health centres (PHCs) diagnose and treat leprosy cases. Several new cases were detected during the two LCDCs held in September-2016 and February-2018. Following these LCDCs, a validation exercise was conducted in 8 Primary health centres (PHCs) of 4 districts in Bihar State by an independent expert group, to assess the correctness of case diagnosis. Just before the February 2018 LCDC campaign, we conducted an “appreciative inquiry” (AI) involving the health care staff of these 8 PHCs using the 4-D framework (Discovery-Dream-Design-Destiny).

Objectives

To assess whether the incorrect case diagnosis (false positive diagnosis) reduced as a result of AI in the 8 PHCs between the two LCDC conducted in September-2016 and February-2018.

Methodology/principal findings

A three-phase quantitative-qualitative-quantitative mixed methods research (embedded design) with the two validation exercises conducted following September-2016 and February-2018 LCDCs as quantitative phases and AI as qualitative phase. In September-2016 LCDC, 303 new leprosy cases were detected, of which 196 cases were validated and 58 (29.6%) were false positive diagnosis. In February-2018 LCDC, 118 new leprosy cases were detected of which 96 cases were validated and 22 cases (23.4%) were false positive diagnosis. After adjusting for the age, gender, type of cases and individual PHCs fixed effects, the proportion of false positive diagnosis reduced by -9% [95% confidence intervals (95%CI): -20.2% to 1.7%, p = 0.068]

Conclusion

False positive diagnosis is a major issue during LCDCs. Though the decline in false positive diagnosis is not statistically significant, the findings are encouraging and indicates that appreciative inquiry can be used to address this deficiency in programme implementation.

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<![CDATA[Ticks as potential vectors of Mycobacterium leprae: Use of tick cell lines to culture the bacilli and generate transgenic strains]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c23f313d5eed0c48404a3a9

Leprosy is an infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae and frequently resulting in irreversible deformities and disabilities. Ticks play an important role in infectious disease transmission due to their low host specificity, worldwide distribution, and the biological ability to support transovarial transmission of a wide spectrum of pathogens, including viruses, bacteria and protozoa. To investigate a possible role for ticks as vectors of leprosy, we assessed transovarial transmission of M. leprae in artificially-fed adult female Amblyomma sculptum ticks, and infection and growth of M. leprae in tick cell lines. Our results revealed M. leprae RNA and antigens persisting in the midgut and present in the ovaries of adult female A. sculptum at least 2 days after oral infection, and present in their progeny (eggs and larvae), which demonstrates the occurrence of transovarial transmission of this pathogen. Infected tick larvae were able to inoculate viable bacilli during blood-feeding on a rabbit. Moreover, following inoculation with M. leprae, the Ixodes scapularis embryo-derived tick cell line IDE8 supported a detectable increase in the number of bacilli for at least 20 days, presenting a doubling time of approximately 12 days. As far as we know, this is the first in vitro cellular system able to promote growth of M. leprae. Finally, we successfully transformed a clinical M. leprae isolate by inserting the reporter plasmid pCHERRY3; transformed bacteria infected and grew in IDE8 cells over a 2-month period. Taken together, our data not only support the hypothesis that ticks may have the potential to act as a reservoir and/or vector of leprosy, but also suggest the feasibility of technological development of tick cell lines as a tool for large-scale production of M. leprae bacteria, as well as describing for the first time a method for their transformation.

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<![CDATA[Leprosy at the edge of Europe—Biomolecular, isotopic and osteoarchaeological findings from medieval Ireland]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c2d2e50d5eed0c484d9931e

Relatively little is known of leprosy in Medieval Ireland; as an island located at the far west of Europe it has the potential to provide interesting insights in relation to the historical epidemiology of the disease. To this end the study focuses on five cases of probable leprosy identified in human skeletal remains excavated from inhumation burials. Three of the individuals derived from the cemetery of St Michael Le Pole, Golden Lane, Dublin, while single examples were also identified from Ardreigh, Co. Kildare, and St Patrick’s Church, Armoy, Co. Antrim. The individuals were radiocarbon dated and examined biomolecularly for evidence of either of the causative pathogens, M. leprae or M. lepromatosis. Oxygen and strontium isotopes were measured in tooth enamel and rib samples to determine where the individuals had spent their formative years and to ascertain if they had undertaken any recent migrations. We detected M. leprae DNA in the three Golden Lane cases but not in the probable cases from either Ardreigh Co. Kildare or Armoy, Co. Antrim. M. lepromatosis was not detected in any of the burals. DNA preservation was sufficiently robust to allow genotyping of M. leprae strains in two of the Golden Lane burials, SkCXCV (12-13th century) and SkCCXXX (11-13th century). These strains were found to belong on different lineages of the M. leprae phylogenetic tree, namely branches 3 and 2 respectively. Whole genome sequencing was also attempted on these two isolates with a view to gaining further information but poor genome coverage precluded phylogenetic analysis. Data from the biomolecular study was combined with osteological, isotopic and radiocarbon dating to provide a comprehensive and multidisciplinary study of the Irish cases. Strontium and oxygen isotopic analysis indicate that two of the individuals from Golden Lane (SkCXLVIII (10-11th century) and SkCXCV) were of Scandinavian origin, while SkCCXXX may have spent his childhood in the north of Ireland or central Britain. We propose that the Vikings were responsible for introducing leprosy to Ireland. This work adds to our knowledge of the likely origins of leprosy in Medieval Ireland and will hopefully stimulate further research into the history and spread of this ancient disease across the world.

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<![CDATA[Trend analysis of leprosy in Morocco between 2000 and 2017: Evidence on the single dose rifampicin chemoprophylaxis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c25454fd5eed0c48442c4b1

Background

Morocco has achieved the goal of leprosy elimination as a public health problem several years ago (less than 1 case/ 10 000 habitant). The aim of this study was to analyze trends of leprosy detection during the last 17 years taking into consideration the implementation of single dose rifampicin chemoprophylaxis (SDRC) started in 2012.

Methodology

Time series of leprosy cases detected at national level between 2000 and 2017. Variable collected for each year were leprosy per 100000 H, age category, gender, origin, regions, grade of disabilities and clinical forms. The detection time series was assessed by Joinpoint Regression Analysis. Annual percentage changes (APCs) were estimated to identify the years (joinpoint) when significant changes occurred in the trend. We therefore examined trends in leprosy detection according to epidemiological variables.

Findings

Joinpoint regression showed a reduction in the detection rate between 2000 and 2017. The APC for the period 2012–2017 (-16.83, 95% CI: -29.2 to -2.3, p <0.05) was more pronounced than that of the previous period 2000–2012 (- 4.68, 95% CI: -7.3 to -2.0, p <0.05); with a significant break in the same joinpoint year SDRC implementation. In stratified analysis, case detection decreased, but not significantly, after the joinpoint years in men, children, multi-bacillary cases, grade 0–1 disabilities, rural and urban cases and in ten regions.

Conclusions

Leprosy detection was declining over years with a significant reduction by 16% per year from 2012 to 2017. SDRC may reduce leprosy detection over the years following its administration.

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<![CDATA[VDR polymorphism, gene expression and vitamin D levels in leprosy patients from North Indian population]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c06f049d5eed0c484c6d5f1

Background

Leprosy is a chronic infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae and mainly affects skin, peripheral nerves. Vitamin D receptor (VDR) gene polymorphism has been found to be associated with leprosy. Vitamin D has been shown to control several host immunomodulating properties through VDR gene. Vitamin D deficiency was also found to be linked to an increased risk for several infections and metabolic diseases.

Objective

In the present study, we investigated the association of VDR gene polymorphism, mRNA gene expression of VDR and the vitamin D levels with leprosy and its reactional states.

Methodology

A total of 305 leprosy patients consisting of tuberculoid (TT), borderline tuberculoid (BT), borderline lepromatous (BL), lepromatous leprosy (LL), as well as 200 healthy controls were enrolled in the study. We identified single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of VDR Taq1, Fok1 and Apa1, as well as the expression of VDR mRNA gene using PCR-based restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis and real-time PCR respectively. We also performed ELISA to measure vitamin D levels.

Result

We observed that SNP of VDR gene (Fok1 and Taq1) are associated with the leprosy disease. The allelic frequency distribution of T and t allele (p = 0.0037), F and f allele (p = 0.0024) was significantly higher in leprosy patients and healthy controls. ff genotype of Fok1 was found to be associated with leprosy patients [p = 0.0004; OR (95% CI) 3.148 (1.662–5.965)]. The recessive model of Fok1 genotype was also found to be significantly associated in leprosy patients in comparison to healthy controls [p = 0.00004; OR (95% CI) 2.85 (1.56–5.22)]. Leprosy patients are significantly associated with t-F-a haplotype. Further, VDR gene expression was found to be lower in non-reaction group compared to that of reaction group of leprosy and healthy controls. Paradoxically, we noted no difference in the levels of vitamin D between leprosy patients and healthy controls.

Conclusion

Blood levels of vitamin D do not play any role in clinical manifestations of any forms of leprosy. ff genotype of Fok1 and tt genotype of Taq1 was found to be associated with leprosy per se. Association of t-F-a haplotype with leprosy was found to be significant and could be used as a genetic marker to identify individuals at high risk for developing leprosy. VDR gene expression was lower in TT/BT and BL/LL groups of leprosy in comparison to that of healthy controls.

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<![CDATA[Organization of oversight for integrated control of neglected tropical diseases within Ministries of Health]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5bff05c7d5eed0c484a33b5b

Background

Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are communicable diseases that impact approximately 1 billion people, but receive relatively little research, funding, and attention. Many NTDs have similar treatments, epidemiology, and geographic distribution, and as a result, the integration of control efforts can improve accountability, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness of programs. Here, we examine the landscape of efforts towards NTD integration across countries with the highest burden of disease, and review the administrative management of integration in order to identify approaches and pathways for integration.

Methodology and principal findings

We utilized a standardized system to score countries for NTD endemnicity to create a list of 25 countries with the highest overall burden of NTDs. We then conducted a literature review to characterize the NTD control programs in the focus countries. Six countries were selected for key informant interviews to validate literature review results and gather additional data on opportunities and obstacles to NTD integration, from an administrative perspective. The majority of countries included in the study were located in Africa, with the remainder from Asia, North America, and South America. Multiple models and pathways were observed for the integration of NTD programs, in combination with other NTD programs, other diseases, or other health programs. Substantial heterogeneity existed with respect to the NTD control programs, and no country had integrated all of their NTD control efforts into a single program. NTDs that can be treated with preventative chemotherapy were frequently integrated into a single program. Leprosy control was also frequently integrated with those of other communicable diseases, and notably tuberculosis. Barriers to NTD integration may result from internal administrative obstacles or external obstacles.

Conclusions

Although many countries have begun to integrate NTD control efforts, additional work will be required to realize the full benefits of integration in most of the countries examined here. Moving forward, NTD integration efforts must ensure that administrative structures are designed to maximize the potential success of integrated programs and account for existing administrative processes.

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<![CDATA[Grade 2 disabilities in leprosy patients from Brazil: Need for follow-up after completion of multidrug therapy]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b600751463d7e39c5526204

Background

Leprosy continues to be a public health problem in many countries. Difficulties faced by health services include late diagnosis, under-reporting of new cases, adequate monitoring of disabilities and treatment. Furthermore, systematic follow-up after completion of treatment is important, when new disabilities may occur, or existing disabilities may get worse. The objective of the present study was to determine the prevalence of leprosy-associated grade 2 disabilities (G2D) after completion of multidrug therapy (MDT) and to identify factors associated with G2D.

Methods

We performed a cross-sectional study of 222 leprosy cases registered in Vitória da Conquista, Bahia state, Brazil from 2001–2014. We performed a clinical examination of the study participants and collected socio-economic and clinical information by interview. We identified factors associated with grade 2 disability (G2D) using logis tic regression.

Results

In total, 38 (17.1%) participants were diagnosed with G2D, and 106 (47.7%) with grade 1 disabilities (G1D). The following independent factors were significantly associated with G2D: occurrence of leprosy reaction (adjusted OR = 2.5; 95%CI = 1.09–5.77), thickening and/or tenderness of one or more nerve trunks (adjusted OR = 3.0; CI = 1.13–8.01) and unemployment (adjusted OR = 7.17; CI = 2.44–21.07).

Conclusions

This study shows that physical disabilities remain after completion of MDT and frequently occur in an endemic area in Brazil. Finding new ways to reduce the burden of disability are urgently needed, and may include systematic follow-up of patients after treatment completion combined with evidence-based preventative measures.

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<![CDATA[Socioeconomic risk markers of leprosy in high-burden countries: A systematic review and meta-analysis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b4f2ccc463d7e25bffba86f

Over 200,000 new cases of leprosy are detected each year, of which approximately 7% are associated with grade-2 disabilities (G2Ds). For achieving leprosy elimination, one of the main challenges will be targeting higher risk groups within endemic communities. Nevertheless, the socioeconomic risk markers of leprosy remain poorly understood. To address this gap we systematically reviewed MEDLINE/PubMed, Embase, LILACS and Web of Science for original articles investigating the social determinants of leprosy in countries with > 1000 cases/year in at least five years between 2006 and 2016. Cohort, case-control, cross-sectional, and ecological studies were eligible for inclusion; qualitative studies, case reports, and reviews were excluded. Out of 1,534 non-duplicate records, 96 full-text articles were reviewed, and 39 met inclusion criteria. 17 were included in random-effects meta-analyses for sex, occupation, food shortage, household contact, crowding, and lack of clean (i.e., treated) water. The majority of studies were conducted in Brazil, India, or Bangladesh while none were undertaken in low-income countries. Descriptive synthesis indicated that increased age, poor sanitary and socioeconomic conditions, lower level of education, and food-insecurity are risk markers for leprosy. Additionally, in pooled estimates, leprosy was associated with being male (RR = 1.33, 95% CI = 1.06–1.67), performing manual labor (RR = 2.15, 95% CI = 0.97–4.74), suffering from food shortage in the past (RR = 1.39, 95% CI = 1.05–1.85), being a household contact of a leprosy patient (RR = 3.40, 95% CI = 2.24–5.18), and living in a crowded household (≥5 per household) (RR = 1.38, 95% CI = 1.14–1.67). Lack of clean water did not appear to be a risk marker of leprosy (RR = 0.94, 95% CI = 0.65–1.35). Additionally, ecological studies provided evidence that lower inequality, better human development, increased healthcare coverage, and cash transfer programs are linked with lower leprosy risks. These findings point to a consistent relationship between leprosy and unfavorable economic circumstances and, thereby, underscore the pressing need of leprosy control policies to target socially vulnerable groups in high-burden countries.

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<![CDATA[Skin disease prevalence study in schoolchildren in rural Côte d'Ivoire: Implications for integration of neglected skin diseases (skin NTDs)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b07d0ea463d7e0d4a37a6ef

Background

Early detection of several skin-related neglected tropical diseases (skin NTDs)–including leprosy, Buruli ulcer, yaws, and scabies- may be achieved through school surveys, but such an approach has seldom been tested systematically on a large scale in endemic countries. Additionally, a better understanding of the spectrum of skin diseases and the at-risk populations to be encountered during such surveys is necessary to facilitate the process.

Methods

We performed a school skin survey for selected NTDs and the spectrum of skin diseases, among primary schoolchildren aged 5 to 15 in Côte d’Ivoire, West Africa. This 2-phase survey took place in 49 schools from 16 villages in the Adzopé health district from November 2015 to January 2016. The first phase involved a rapid visual examination of the skin by local community healthcare workers (village nurses) to identify any skin abnormality. In a second phase, a specialized medical team including dermatologists performed a total skin examination of all screened students with any skin lesion and provided treatment where necessary.

Results

Of a total of 13,019 children, 3,504 screened positive for skin lesions and were listed for the next stage examination. The medical team examined 1,138 of these children. The overall prevalence of skin diseases was 25.6% (95% CI: 24.3–26.9%). The predominant diagnoses were fungal infections (n = 858, prevalence: 22.3%), followed by inflammatory skin diseases (n = 265, prevalence: 6.9%). Skin diseases were more common in boys and in children living along the main road with heavy traffic. One case of multi-bacillary type leprosy was detected early, along with 36 cases of scabies. Our survey was met with very good community acceptance.

Conclusion

We carried out the first large-scale integrated, two-phase pediatric multi-skin NTD survey in rural Côte d’Ivoire, effectively reaching a large population. We found a high prevalence of skin diseases in children, but only limited number of skin NTDs. With the lessons learned, we plan to expand the project to a wider area to further explore its potential to better integrate skin NTD screening in the public health agenda.

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<![CDATA[The Global Burden of Disease Study 2010: Interpretation and Implications for the Neglected Tropical Diseases]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da7eab0ee8fa60b999d9 ]]> <![CDATA[Long-term Survival and Virulence of Mycobacterium leprae in Amoebal Cysts]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da37ab0ee8fa60b86bbd

Leprosy is a curable neglected disease of humans caused by Mycobacterium leprae that affects the skin and peripheral nerves and manifests clinically in various forms ranging from self-resolving, tuberculoid leprosy to lepromatous leprosy having significant pathology with ensuing disfiguration disability and social stigma. Despite the global success of multi-drug therapy (MDT), incidences of clinical leprosy have been observed in individuals with no apparent exposure to other cases, suggestive of possible non-human sources of the bacteria. In this study we show that common free-living amoebae (FLA) can phagocytose M. leprae, and allow the bacillus to remain viable for up to 8 months within amoebic cysts. Viable bacilli were extracted from separate encysted cocultures comprising three common Acanthamoeba spp.: A. lenticulata, A. castellanii, and A. polyphaga and two strains of Hartmannella vermiformis. Trophozoites of these common FLA take up M. leprae by phagocytosis. M. leprae from infected trophozoites induced to encyst for long-term storage of the bacilli emerged viable by assessment of membrane integrity. The majority (80%) of mice that were injected with bacilli extracted from 35 day cocultures of encysted/excysted A. castellanii and A. polyphaga showed lesion development that was similar to mice challenged with fresh M. leprae from passage mice albeit at a slower initial rate. Mice challenged with coculture-extracted bacilli showed evidence of acid-fast bacteria and positive PCR signal for M. leprae. These data support the conclusion that M. leprae can remain viable long-term in environmentally ubiquitous FLA and retain virulence as assessed in the nu/nu mouse model. Additionally, this work supports the idea that M. leprae might be sustained in the environment between hosts in FLA and such residence in FLA may provide a macrophage-like niche contributing to the higher-than-expected rate of leprosy transmission despite a significant decrease in human reservoirs due to MDT.

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<![CDATA[Epidemiology of Leprosy in Spain: The Role of the International Migration]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da36ab0ee8fa60b862d0

Background

Although incidence of leprosy in Spain has declined steadily over the years, the fivefold increase in immigration since the turn of the century—much of it from countries where leprosy is still prevalent—has been linked to an uptick in registered cases.

Objective

To describe the epidemiologic trends of incident leprosy cases detected in Spain among Spanish- and foreign-born population groups.

Methods

Observational, retrospective study of suspected leprosy cases in Spain, as reported through the System of Compulsory Notification of Diseases from 2003 to 2013, with results disaggregated by country of birth. We collected statistical data on leprosy burden for other countries from WHO to estimate the expected number of imported cases.

Results

Of the 168 leprosy cases registered during the study period, 40 (24.6%) were in Spanish patients, while 128 (76.2%) were detected in legally resident immigrants. We identified a significantly higher number of imported leprosy cases during the 2008–2010 and 2011–2013 trienniums compared to the reference biennium 2003–2004 (OR 5.38, 95% CI 1.83–14.88 and OR 4.80, 95% CI 1.41–16.33, respectively). Most imported cases were diagnosed in Latin American immigrants (71.9%), especially Brazilians, but also Paraguayans, Bolivians and other nationalities from South and Central America. However, registered incidence was lower than expected for each year. For example, in 2003, the expected new cases in immigrants was 47.12, compared to only four cases that were actually detected (a 91% difference). Likewise, we expected to find 49.6 incident cases among immigrants in 2009, but only 15 new cases were reported (60% fewer than expected).

Conclusion

Imported cases of leprosy are responsible for most leprosy incidence in Spain, and we cannot rule out some under-diagnosis. Clinicians should be made more aware of the potential for leprosy incidence among patients from countries where the disease is endemic.

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<![CDATA[Anti-PGL-1 Positivity as a Risk Marker for the Development of Leprosy among Contacts of Leprosy Cases: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dae9ab0ee8fa60bbe8ac

Background

There is no point of care diagnostic test for infection with M. Leprae or for leprosy, although ELISA anti PGL-1 has been considered and sometimes used as a means to identify infection.

Methods

A systematic review of all cohort studies, which classified healthy leprosy contacts, at entry, according to anti-PGL1 positivity, and had at least one year follow up. The outcome was clinical diagnosis of leprosy by an experienced physician. The meta-analysis used a fixed model to estimated OR for the association of PGL-1 positivity and clinical leprosy. A fixed model also estimated the sensibility of PGL-1 positivity and positive predictive value.

Results

Contacts who were anti PGL-1 positive at baseline were 3 times as likely to develop leprosy; the proportion of cases of leprosy that were PGL-1 positive at baseline varied but was always under 50%.

Conclusions

Although there is a clear and consistent association between positivity to anti PGL-1 and development of leprosy in healthy contacts, selection of contacts for prophylaxis based on anti PGL1 response would miss more than half future leprosy cases. Should chemoprophylaxis of controls be incorporated into leprosy control programmes, PGL1 appears not to be a useful test in the decision of which contacts should receive chemoprophylaxis.

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