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Leprosy  rises  in India

Leprosy  rises  in India

What in news about Leprosy  rises  in India?

The rise in the number of recorded leprosy cases from 86,147 (in 2013-14) to 90,709 (2017-18), reported a decade and a half after India was declared leprosy-free in 2005, has turned the spotlight on the hotspots for the disease.

Disease Burden in Leprosy  rises  in India:

  • The Leprosy Case Detection Campaign has shown that 34,730 cases were detected in 2016, 32,147 in 2017, and 16,097 in 2018.
  • Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Maharashtra remain the ‘hotspots’ from which maximum prevalence was detected last year.
  • The number of cases reported fell after 2005-06, when India was declared leprosy-free — the prevalence rate at the time was 0.84%. “It was only at the end of 2011 people started reporting in with leprosy-related disabilities in high numbers.

Reasons for Leprosy  rises  in India:

  • High population density, poor sanitation and inadequate access to nutrition are among the reasons for the number remaining high.
  • Reporting the leprosy gradually increased in this period.
  • The incubation period of the disease, on average, is five years. In some cases, symptoms may occur within one year but can also take as long as 20 years to occur. This is exactly the trouble with the elimination of leprosy.
  • Moreover, The long incubation period, and the social stigma attached to it, makes it a tough disease to eliminate.

Focus on children

  • There has been a change in the percentage of new child cases from 9.49% in 2013-14 to 8.15% in 2017-18, with the level having remained almost stagnant at 8.94% in 2015-16 and 8.69 % in 2016-17.
  • In 2016-17, the proportion of new child cases was more than 10% of the new cases detected in 10 States.
  • Children are not predisposed to leprosy, but there is an element of risk in late detection, with parents hiding the disease, especially in the case of girls till the handicap sets in.
  • Meanwhile, disability in children has a longer lifespan, which can hamper their quality of life.

Measures taken by Government  for Leprosy  rises  in India:

  • Kerala swung into action after detecting a bulk of leprosy cases from Thiruvananthapuram and Palakkad, among other areas. The state had reported 496 new cases 2017 and 520 so far 2018.
  • To make people aware of the disease, the government decided to tap into their cultural imaginations. Superstar Mohanlal, singer KS Chitra and magician Gopinath Muthukad have been speaking to the people about leprosy. An entire episode in Uppam Mulugam, a popular sitcom, was dedicated to the disease and the state even saw a football match devoted to leprosy awareness in Malappuram.
  • Moreover , Social media highlights and forwards are breaking new ground in spreading awareness.

Way Ahead

  • There is a continuing need to improve data collection and monitoring of trends at local level as well as at country level.
  • Moreover, There is also a need to adopt local problem-specific strategies at state/district levels to address diverse factors influencing the leprosy situation in India.
  • Meanwhile, These complementary approaches are essential to achieve further reduction of the disease burden due to leprosy in accordance with the enhanced global strategy and as per the recommendations of WHO expert committee on leprosy

About Leprosy:

  • Leprosy is a chronic, progressive bacterial infection caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium leprae.
  • It primarily affects the nerves of the extremities, the skin, the lining of the nose, and the upper respiratory tract.
  • Leprosy is also known as Hansen’s disease.
  • Leprosy produces skin ulcers, nerve damage, and muscle weakness. If it isn’t treated, it can cause severe disfigurement and significant disability.
  • Symptoms: muscle weakness, numbness in the hands, arms, feet, and legs and also skin lesions.

How does leprosy spread?

  • The bacterium Mycobacterium leprae causes leprosy. It’s thought that leprosy spreads through contact with the mucosal secretions of a person with the infection. This usually occurs when a person with leprosy sneezes or coughs.
  • The disease isn’t highly contagious. However, close, repeated contact with an untreated person for a longer period of time can lead to contracting leprosy.

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