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Journal of Tropical Medicine
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 596316, 8 pages
Research Article

Kinship and Leprosy in the Contacts of Leprosy Patients: Cohort at the Souza Araújo Outpatient Clinic, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, 1987–2010

Leprosy Laboratory, Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, Oswaldo Cruz Institute, Avenida Brasil, 4365, Manguinhos, 21040-360 Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil

Received 10 January 2013; Revised 21 March 2013; Accepted 21 March 2013

Academic Editor: Marcel Tanner

Copyright © 2013 Daiane Santos dos Santos et al. 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.


A broad variety of factors have been associated with leprosy among contacts, including socioeconomic, epidemiological, and genetic characteristics. Data from 7,174 contacts of leprosy patients from a leprosy outpatient clinic in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1987–2010, were analyzed to investigate the effects of kinship, individual, and contextual factors on leprosy. Multivariate analyses were performed using a robust estimation method. In the prevalence analysis, close kinship (sibling OR = 2.75, offspring OR = 2.00, and other relatives OR = 1.70), socioeconomic factors, and the duration of exposure to the bacillus were associated to leprosy. In the incidence analysis, significant risks were found for all categories of kinship (parents RR = 10.93, spouse, boyfriend/girlfriend, and bride/groom RR = 7.53, sibling RR = 7.03, offspring RR = 5.34, and other relatives RR = 3.71). Once the treatment of the index case was initiated, other factors lost their significance, and the index case bacteriological index and BCG (Bacillus Calmette-Guérin vaccine) protection had a greater impact. Our findings suggested that both genetic susceptibility and physical exposure play an important role in the epidemiology of leprosy, but it was not possible establishing the role of genetic factor. Analyses of other factors related to the genotype of individuals, such as genetic polymorphisms, are needed.