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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 328673, 4 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/328673
Research Article

Postelimination Status of Childhood Leprosy: Report from a Tertiary-Care Hospital in South India

Department of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprosy, Father Muller Medical College, Mangalore, Karnataka 575002, India

Received 29 April 2013; Revised 27 July 2013; Accepted 6 August 2013

Academic Editor: Milton Ozório Moraes

Copyright © 2013 P. Chaitra and Ramesh Marne Bhat. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Introduction. Leprosy, a statistically “eliminated” disease from the globe, continues to linger around in its endemic countries including India. Objective. This study describes the epidemiological and clinicopathological pattern of the disease seen in children over a period of 8 years following its elimination in India. Materials and Methods. Medical records of all leprosy cases up to 14 years of age registered between April 2005 and March 2013 were retrospectively analyzed. Data were retrieved using a predesigned proforma and entered into the database system for analysis. Results. Child proportion of newly registered leprosy cases did not show a significant decline in the years following its elimination. The disease seemed to manifest frequently in older children with an insignificant gender predilection. More than half of child cases had a history of household contact. Paucibacillary leprosy dominated in them with a solitary skin lesion as the most frequent presentation. Although nerve thickening was seen in nearly half of these children, neuritis and lepra reactions were less common. Deformity at the time of diagnosis was noted in 13.89% of cases. Although smear positivity was not a common feature in children affected with leprosy, a good clinicohistopathological correlation was observed in those who underwent biopsy. Conclusion. Our study and reports from different parts of the country depict the unturned curves in the epidemiology of childhood leprosy which mirrors active transmission in the community, lacunae in diagnosis, and the need to strengthen contact screening activities in the pediatric population to sustain elimination.