ABSTRACT: Leprosy is a chronic infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae. It is considered a major public health issue in developing countries.
To evaluate the clinical and epidemiological profile of leprosy patients between 2003 and 2008 in the state of Piauí, to analyze detection and prevalence rates in the general population and in the population of children under 15 years of age, and to evaluate the predominant clinical forms.
Data were obtained from the notifiable diseases database of the State Health Department, Piauí, Brazil. Medical records are retrieved from patients' charts using a specific questionnaire and the collected data is then entered into the database system.
Of the 12,238 cases of leprosy reported in this period, 85% represented new cases. The mean overall annual detection rate was 54 cases/100,000 habitants. The rate for children under 15 years of age was 15.3 cases/100,000 habitants. Overall, 52.18% of the patients were male; 64.66% were between 20 and 59 years of age; and 53.53% had the paucibacillary form of leprosy. Nevertheless, in 88.82% of cases of the paucibacillary form of the disease, more than five lesions were present, while in 10.55% of cases of the multibacillary form of the disease, no lesions were present. Over 20% of patients had some degree of disability.
These indicators point to a high circulation of bacilli in the community and highlight the extreme difficulty experienced by the primary healthcare network in organizing itself in order to ensure that patients with this complex disease receive an accurate and early diagnosis.
Anais brasileiros de dermatologia 06/2012; 87(3):389-95.