Journal Article

Update on Leprosy in Immigrants in the United States: Status in the Year 2000

Charles D. Ericsson, Robert Steffen, Winnie W. Ooi and Samuel L. Moschella

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 32, issue 6, pages 930-937
Published in print March 2001 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online March 2001 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/319357
Update on Leprosy in Immigrants in the United States: Status in the Year 2000

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The World Health Organization established a goal in 1991 of “elimination of leprosy as a public health problem by the year 2000.” Although prevalence rates of leprosy have decreased in many geographic areas, it is clear that in some countries where leprosy is endemic, such as Brazil and India, this goal will not be reached. Leprosy is rare in the United States, but 85% of detected cases are in immigrants in whom the disease may mimic many common dermatologic and neurological entities, leading to delay of diagnosis. The statuses of polymerase chain reaction analysis, serological testing, and vaccines are reviewed. Effective multidrug therapy and prevention of permanent damage to nerves by early recognition and treatment will help prevent residual disabilities. This update reviews what is known about the pathophysiology and treatment of leprosy. Increased awareness will lead to earlier recognition, diagnosis, and treatment.

Journal Article.  4699 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

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