Leprosy cases among children in Maha up by 18% in five years
The data from a report by the National Leprosy Eradication Program shows the total number of child cases recorded in the year 2014-2015 were 2,045 as against 1,733 cases reported in 2009-2010 in the Maharshtra.mumbai Updated: Apr 15, 2016 00:03 IST
The number of leprosy cases among children has increased in Maharashtra in the past five years, says an evaluation report by the National Leprosy Eradication Program (NLEP) released last month.
The data from the report shows the total number of child cases recorded in the year 2014-2015 were 2,045 as against 1,733 cases reported in 2009-2010 in the state. This accounts for an 18% rise in five years.
“The fact that more children are being detected with leprosy means there is active disease transmission in the state,” said Dr Vivek Pai of the Bombay Leprosy Project, a city-based non- governmental organisation that has been working towards eradication of leprosy for the past 40 years.
Dr Chitra Nayak, professor and head of dermatology department, BL Nair Charitable Hospital, Mumbai Central, said, “I see at least two cases of child leprosy in a day. Most of these children have low immunity and very poor nutrition which worsens their condition.”
Seven states of the country were evaluated based on the implementation of National Leprosy Eradication Program (NLEP) from 2012 to 2017.
According to the report, many child cases detected in the state have Grade II disability (deformity clearly visible to the eye) which suggests that the cases are detected late, said experts.
Dr Atul Shah, former honorary professor of plastic surgery, Sir JJ Hospital, Byculla, said about 5% of the cases of child leprosy had Grade II disability before their treatment is started. “We see children with deformities where their fingers are bent, they are unable to walk and have lost sensations. In some cases, the only solution that we are left with is a reconstructive surgery. Deformities can be prevented with corticosteroid therapy, if the cases are detected early,” he said.
Meanwhile, the state is planning a skin disease detection camp in the state to increase the detection of new cases.
“A skin disease detection camp will be held from June 20 to June 30 in 11 districts where the prevalence rates are very high. We have written to the central government for funds,” said Dr Sanjiv Kamble, joint director of health services, Maharashtra.