Translation by Hermes
leprosy, an illness which we had already long ago forgotten, has reappeared. It reappeared in another way, without leper colonies nor inhuman stigmatizations, but with sporadic infections, which is the most important factor from the epidemiologic point of view.
In spite of the fact that this illness continues to be a “rather uncommon” one, doctors give advice to remain watchful. The vast majority of the population has never seen a leper in their whole life. But a recent study by the London Hospital for Tropical Diseases alert said that there’s a delay in the diagnose of up to 80%, which increases the risk that the affected might suffer from serious physical disabilities due to the illness.
Between 15 and 25 cases of leprosy are diagnosed every year in Spain, being this an illness which is very infectious. In the last year, 25 people got the illness, and there’s more than 450 patients in a medical center in Alicante.
The majority of cases in Spain are those of immigrants who most surely arrived already with the illness in their bodies. On a worldwide scale, half of the affected live in India. There are also sources of infection in Angola, Brasil, Madagascar, Mozambique, Nepal, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Tanzania.
The illness is caused by a bacteria, the Mycobacterium Leprae. The WHO recommended in 1981 a combined therapy composed by 3 drugs (Multidrug therapy – TMM): Dapson, Rifampicin and Clofamizin. “This drug combination kills the pathogen and heals the patient. The TMM is secure and effective, and can be given easily to the patient anywhere. The drug is made available to all patients in form of blisters given in a monthly period”, the WHO explains.
According to the Foundation Fontilles, the problem is when there’s no early diagnosis. In this case the illness can cause disabilities, and its consequences may remain even if the illness itself is cured. This, and rejection towards sick persons are the main problems regarding this illness in Spain. This declarations were made on The International Day Against Leprosy.