Leprosy is a chronic inflammatory disease which is caused by Mycobacterium leprae. It is characterised by a variety of clinical features, the best known of which is the peripheral nerve damage leading to chronic problems with loss of pain sensation resulting in unnoticed damage to tissues.
Multidrug treatment of leprosy since the early 1980s has had a profound effect on the prevalence and incidence of the condition worldwide. The number of patients declined from an estimated 12 million in 1985, to 2.4 million in 1995. However leprosy continues to be a challenge to health worldwide, with about 250,000 new cases being detected every year (1)
Iin countries where leprosy is non-endemic, diagnosis is frequently delayed and patients may present to multiple specialists before obtaining the correct diagnosis (2)
Last reviewed 01/2018