More than half of the leprosy cases detected in Mumbai in 2011-12 comprised patients in their advanced stages. This has raised concerns of delayed detection of leprosy, said doctors.
The number of patients being detected with advanced stage of leprosy has increased by 7% over the last year. Of the 709 leprosy cases reported in 2011-12, 399 cases were classified under the Multibacillary (MB) category, which has a higher bacillary load, indicating a possibility of higher chances of spreading the infection.
According to the data collected by the Directorate of Health Services, Maharashtra, under the National Leprosy Elimination Program, the overall number of leprosy cases in the city has reduced marginally this year as 792 cases were detected in 2010-11.
However, doctors said that several patients in cities consult private doctors, who may not report the disease at all “Patients tend to hide the disease because of the stigma attached to it. Hence we usually get lesser numbers in urban areas,” said S Kingsley from Alert-India, an NGO working with leprosy patients.
In 2011-12, 11% of the new cases were detected with visible lifetime deformity.