World Leprosy Eradication Day

World Leprosy Eradication Day is celebrated on 31st January. Leprosy is a prolonged disease caused by Mycobacterium lepromatosis and Mycobacterium leprae. It is also known as Hansen’s disease and got its name from the Physician Gerhard Armauer Hansen. Leprosy is basically a granulomatous ailment of mucosa of the upper respiratory tract and peripheral nerves. Primary exterior sign includes skin lesions. If leprosy is not properly treated, it may be advanced and can cause everlasting injury to the skin, limbs, nerves and eyes.

History of Global Leprosy Eradication Day:
Word Health Organization founded the goal of eradicating leprosy at international level in the year 2000. The main aim of this program is to aware people about disease and to prove that this disease is curable and can be eliminated by various methods and complete course of treatment.

Causative Microorganisms:
M. Lepromatosis is a newly recognized organism and it was sequestered in 2008 from the lethal case of diffuse lepromatous leprosy. M. lepraeis rod -shaped bacterium that survives in aerobic environment. It was the primary human bacterial pathogen discovered.

Mode of Transmission:
Mode of transmission of Leprosy is still ambiguous whereas most of the researchers think that Mycobacterium leprae transmits from one person to another through respirational droplets. The lowest incubation period of M. leprae is about few weeks and this is centered upon very sporadic incidence of leprosy among new infants. This supreme duration can be as long as 30 years. Average incubation period is three to five years. This disease has exaggerated human race for 4000 years and people of China, India and Egypt were well aware from it. It affects people of all ages and both the sexes.

Signs of Leprosy:
The major sign of this disease are skin patches which have lost the power of sensation. Leprosy blotches can be pale or red color in color. They can be plane or elevated and can occur anyplace of the body. Do not itch that area and usually it do not cause pain. Other signs include smooth reddish or skin colored lumps with the perfect power of sensation.

Classification of Leprosy:
It has been classified in to two major groups based on the number of lumps.

  • Paucibacillary
  • Multibacillary

Paucibacillary Leprosy (PB):
The condition when patient has one to five patches aroundbody is known as paucibacillary leprosy. Treatment is 6 PB packs until the next arrival of patient.

Multibacillary Leprosy (MB):
It is a type of leprosy in which patient has more than five patches around body and 12 MB packs are given to such patients as treatment.

Eradication of Leprosy:
Eradication of leprosy means to decrease the number of patients to a very low level in a community, particularly less than one case per 10,000 population. It is still a major problem in almost 80 states of Africa, Asia and Latin America. In 1994, 2.4 million people were evaluated with leprosy. World Health Organization recommended standard Multi-drug therapy to be active in struggling against pathogen.

For past few decades, collective efforts of local governments, World Health Organization, non-governmental organizations (NGO’S) and health Professionals have resulted in 90 % drop in worldwide incidence of leprosy. WHO has stated ‘Eradication’ as an incident rate of less than 1 instance per 10,000 occupants.

  • It can simply be alleviated with MDT.
  • Multi Drug Therapy treats the disease, discontinues transmission and prevent from disabilities.
  • Initial step to eliminate leprosy is to identify the patients and treat them with multi drug therapy(MDT).
  • Eradication means decreasing the disease load in to a very short level. This action will minimize the risk of infections and their sources so that leprosy is expected to vanish as it has already been removed from various parts of the world.
  • Augmenting access to leprosy diagnosis and management is essential.
  • All health care centers should provide MDT free of cost especially in the endemic areas.
  • Dissipation of horror of leprosy is necessary.
  • Every health employer should be aware of diagnosis and management of this disease.
  • Awareness about early signs and symptoms and encouraging people to pursue treatment.

“Leprosy should be just a closed chapter in the life of a person”

National Academy of Young Scientists (NAYS) and Pakistan Science Foundation (PSF) are the leading organizations of Pakistan. They are working together for the advancement of education, social, and scientific issues. NAYS in cooperation with PSF, is increasing awareness on several health problems for example leprosy. It is an ancient disease but still exist in our country so it is necessary to provide education and awareness about its signs and management. Early detection will help in curing the disease and prevent from chronic situation.


Article By: Mariam Asif