39 cases of leprosy in Gurugram district since April 2018
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39 cases of leprosy in Gurugram district since April 2018

In an attempt to raise awareness on leprosy, the Gurugram district health department has flagged off a 15-day campaign at health centres across the district.

gurgaon Updated: Jan 31, 2019 14:29 IST
Sonali Verma
Sonali Verma
Hindustan Times, Gurugram
gurugram district,leprosy cases in gurugram district,world leprosy day
Gurugram district health officials said that 11 of the 39 leprosy cases were detected in October during the leprosy detection campaign by health workers.(Reuters File / Representative Photo )

On World Leprosy Day on Wednesday, officials of district health department said 39 cases of the infectious disease, caused by a bacillus (rodshaped) bacterium known as Mycobacterium leprae, were reported in Gurugram district from April 2018 till date.

Of the 39, the number of patients with visible deformities or damage to limbs and nerves — termed as Grade-2 disabilities — was three, health department officials said, adding that this number was around the same in the previous years.

“Grade-2 disability occurs when a case is unreported for a long time and the treatment gets delayed. Due to the detection campaigns since 2015-16, the number of Grade-2 cases has been low,” said Dr Vijay Kumar, district nodal officer (leprosy) and deputy civil surgeon.

Besides, officials said, 11 of the 39 cases were detected in October during the leprosy detection campaign by health workers.

Dr Kumar maintained that while camps were organised throughout the year, in October, health workers, under the leprosy detection campaign, went from door to door in high-risk areas such as urban slums and places with a large population of migrant workers.

“More than a lakh people were screened during these campaigns. In the campaign flagged off on Wednesday, Accredited Social Health Workers (ASHAS), auxiliary nurse midwives (ANMS) and other health workers in primary health centres (PHCS) have been roped in to spread awareness about the symptoms of the disease,” said Dr Kumar.

In an attempt to raise awareness on leprosy, the district health department has also flagged off a 15-day campaign at health centres across the district.

The number of leprosy cases between April 2017 and 2018 was 67, whereas 45 cases were reported between April 2016 and 2017. This number was 86 in 2015-16.

Health department officials said people were told to refer to their nearest health centre as soon as they spot the early signs of the disease such as pale or reddish patches on the skin with loss of sensation or reduced sensation. Other symptoms in early stage of the disease include numbness of hands or the feet and painful or tender nerves. In the later stages, skin patches can increase in number or size, skin ulcers can occur and muscles can weaken.

India declared itself leprosy-eliminated in 2005 after reaching the World Health Organization (WHO) target of less than one case per 10,000 population. However, an estimated 1.27 lakh new cases were detected in the country in

2017, the WHO said. According to government data available till March 2018, about 0.9 lakh leprosy cases were reported, as compared to 0.86 lakh cases in 2016-17 and 0.88 lakh cases in 2015-16.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced to eradicate leprosy from India by the year 2030.

For the same, the central government launched the leprosy case detection campaign in 2016, which has helped detect 67,000 new cases per year, according to data by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

First Published: Jan 31, 2019 14:28 IST