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World Leprosy Day

Proactive Detection and Early Diagnosis Essential for Achieving Zero Disability in Children

Washington, DC, January 30, 2017 (PAHO / WHO) – Although cases of leprosy in the Americas have declined by more than 30 percent in the last decade, cases are still being notified in some countries,  highlighting the need to maintain disease control measures to sustain that decline.

On World Leprosy Day this month, the Pan American Health Organization / World Health Organization (PAHO / WHO) is calling for proactive detection and early diagnosis to achieve zero cases of leprosy-related disabilities in children, the theme of the campaign this year.

Leprosy is a chronic disease caused by a slow multiplying bacillus, Mycobacterium leprae, which multiplies slowly and has an incubation period of about 5 years. Symptoms can take as long as 20 years to appear. The disease mainly affects the skin, the peripheral nerves, mucosa of the upper respiratory tract, and the eyes. Leprosy is curable with multidrug therapy (MDT), which is free in all countries.


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More information:

Secretaria de Vigilancia Sanitária – Health Ministry of Brazil (en portuguese)

Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)

Leprosy elimination – World Health Organization (WHO)