Leprosy cases double in Ludhiana in 3 years - Hindustan Times
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Leprosy cases double in Ludhiana in 3 years

ByRakshit Sharma, Ludhiana
Apr 06, 2024 05:10 AM IST

According to the data by the leprosy department of the civil hospital, the district reported 55 cases of leprosy in 2021, which shot up to 97 in 2022 and 102 in 2023

The cases of leprosy in the district have shot up by almost double in the last three years, data from the district leprosy officer shows.

Of the 252 cases reported in the last three years, only 57 patients were natives of Punjab. (Gurpreet Singh/HT)
Of the 252 cases reported in the last three years, only 57 patients were natives of Punjab. (Gurpreet Singh/HT)

According to the data by the leprosy department of the civil hospital, the district reported 55 cases of leprosy in 2021, which shot up to 97 in 2022 and 102 in 2023.

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“We have seen a rise in leprosy cases in the last few years,” said district leprosy officer Dr Preeti Gautam.

Of the 252 cases reported in the last three years, only 57 patients were natives of Punjab.

Dr Gautam attributed this to the prevalence of the disease in states such as Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, which make up a significant number of the immigrant population in the district.

“Although leprosy is not an easily communicable disease, long-term contact with a patient, such as with family members, can lead to the disease,” she added.

More cases being diagnosed due to heightened awareness

Dr Gautam said that the spike was primarily due to increased awareness about the disease.

“In recent years, there has been a better awareness regarding leprosy and its early symptoms. This helps people approach a doctor and hence, more cases are being reported,” she said.

“The health department has been active in spreading awareness and educating people on how to identify the disease early,” she said.

At present, 108 patients are on medication for the disease at the department. Of these, seven were diagnosed during a recent leprosy campaign from March 7 to 21.

At least nine lakh people were surveyed in the campaign throughout the district.

For the campaign, 29 zones suspected to have leprosy cases based on old cases were surveyed and 30 suspicious cases were detected.

The department carries out such campaigns at regular intervals. Speaking about the early symptoms, Dr Gautam said that hypopigmentation (light patches), loss of sensation and ulcers could be early signs of the disease.

She emphasised that if the patients reached the doctor in time and the disease was detected, it could be treated well. “If the symptoms are not too strong, surgeries can ensure that the bacteria which cause this disease do not spread.”

She added that this could help improve the quality of life in a patient.

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