BackgroundThis study aimed to evaluate the risk factors associated with developing leprosy among the contacts of newly-diagnosed leprosy patients.Methodology/Principal FindingsA total of 6,158 contacts and 1,201 leprosy patients of the cohort who were diagnosed and treated at the Leprosy Laboratory of Fiocruz from 1987 to 2007 were included. The contact variables analyzed were sex; age; educational and income levels; blood relationship, if any, to the index case; household or non-household relationship; length of time of close association with the index case; receipt of bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BGG) vaccine and presence of BCG scar. Index cases variables included sex, age, educational level, family size, bacillary load, and disability grade. Multilevel logistic regression with random intercept was applied. Among the co-prevalent cases, the leprosy-related variables that remained associated with leprosy included type of household contact, [odds ratio (OR) = 1.33, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.02, 1.73] and consanguinity with the index case, (OR = 1.89, 95% CI: 1.42–2.51). With respect to the index case variables, the factors associated with leprosy among contacts included up to 4 years of schooling and 4 to 10 years of schooling (OR = 2.72, 95% CI: 1.54–4.79 and 2.40, 95% CI: 1.30–4.42, respectively) and bacillary load, which increased the chance of leprosy among multibacillary contacts for those with a bacillary index of one to three and greater than three (OR = 1.79, 95% CI: 1.19–2.17 and OR: 4.07–95% CI: 2.73, 6.09), respectively. Among incident cases, household exposure was associated with leprosy (OR = 1.96, 95% CI: 1.29–2.98), compared with non-household exposure. Among the index case risk factors, an elevated bacillary load was the only variable associated with leprosy in the contacts.Conclusions/SignificanceBiological and social factors appear to be associated with leprosy among co-prevalent cases, whereas the factors related to the infectious load and proximity with the index case were associated with leprosy that appeared in the incident cases during follow-up.
BackgroundSocial determinants can affect the transmission of leprosy and its progression to disease. Not much is known about the effectiveness of welfare and primary health care policies on the reduction of leprosy occurrence. The aim of this study is to evaluate the impact of the Brazilian cash transfer (Bolsa Família Program-BFP) and primary health care (Family Health Program-FHP) programs on new case detection rate of leprosy.Methodology/Principal FindingsWe conducted the study with a mixed ecological design, a combination of an ecological multiple-group and time-trend design in the period 2004–2011 with the Brazilian municipalities as unit of analysis. The main independent variables were the BFP and FHP coverage at the municipal level and the outcome was new case detection rate of leprosy. Leprosy new cases, BFP and FHP coverage, population and other relevant socio-demographic covariates were obtained from national databases. We used fixed-effects negative binomial models for panel data adjusted for relevant socio-demographic covariates. A total of 1,358 municipalities were included in the analysis. In the studied period, while the municipal coverage of BFP and FHP increased, the new case detection rate of leprosy decreased. Leprosy new case detection rate was significantly reduced in municipalities with consolidated BFP coverage (Risk Ratio 0.79; 95% CI = 0.74–0.83) and significantly increased in municipalities with FHP coverage in the medium (72–95%) (Risk Ratio 1.05; 95% CI = 1.02–1.09) and higher coverage tertiles (>95%) (Risk Ratio 1.12; 95% CI = 1.08–1.17).ConclusionsAt the same time the Family Health Program had been effective in increasing the new case detection rate of leprosy in Brazil, the Bolsa Família Program was associated with a reduction of the new case detection rate of leprosy that we propose reflects a reduction in leprosy incidence.
Summary Background Although leprosy is recognised as a disease of poverty, there is little evidence on the specific socioeconomic factors associated with disease risk. To inform targeted strategies for disease elimination, we investigated socioeconomic markers of leprosy risk in Brazil. Methods Socioeconomic data from the 100 Million Brazilian Cohort were linked to the Brazilian national disease registry (Sistema de Informação de Agravos de Notificação) for leprosy from Jan 1, 2007, to Dec 31, 2014. Using Poisson regression, we assessed the association of socioeconomic factors with risk of incident leprosy in the full cohort and in children (aged 0–15 years), by leprosy subtype and region of residence. Findings In an analysis of 23 899 942 individuals including 18 518 patients with leprosy, increased levels of deprivation were associated with an increased risk of leprosy in Brazil. Directions of effect were consistent in children younger than 15 years and across disease subtypes. Individuals residing in regions with the highest poverty in the country (central-west, north, and northeast regions) had a risk of leprosy incidence five-to-eight times greater than did other individuals. Decreased levels of income and education and factors reflecting unfavourable living conditions were associated with an up to two-times increase in leprosy incidence (incidence rate ratio 1·46, 95% CI 1·32–1·62, for lowest vs highest quartile of income per capita; 2·09, 95% CI 1·62–2·72, for lowest vs highest level of education). Interpretation Within the poorest half of the Brazilian population, the most deprived individuals have the greatest risk of leprosy. Strategies focusing on early detection and treatment in the poorest populations could contribute substantially to global disease control. Funding Medical Research Council, Wellcome Trust, Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (Brazil), the Conselho Nacional das Fundações Estaduais de Amparo à Pesquisa, Economic and Social Research Council, Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico, and Fundação de Apoio à Pesquisa do Distrito Federal.
Over 200,000 new cases of leprosy are detected each year, of which approximately 7% are associated with grade-2 disabilities (G2Ds). For achieving leprosy elimination, one of the main challenges will be targeting higher risk groups within endemic communities. Nevertheless, the socioeconomic risk markers of leprosy remain poorly understood. To address this gap we systematically reviewed MEDLINE/PubMed, Embase, LILACS and Web of Science for original articles investigating the social determinants of leprosy in countries with > 1000 cases/year in at least five years between 2006 and 2016. Cohort, case-control, cross-sectional, and ecological studies were eligible for inclusion; qualitative studies, case reports, and reviews were excluded. Out of 1,534 non-duplicate records, 96 full-text articles were reviewed, and 39 met inclusion criteria. 17 were included in random-effects meta-analyses for sex, occupation, food shortage, household contact, crowding, and lack of clean (i.e., treated) water. The majority of studies were conducted in Brazil, India, or Bangladesh while none were undertaken in low-income countries. Descriptive synthesis indicated that increased age, poor sanitary and socioeconomic conditions, lower level of education, and food-insecurity are risk markers for leprosy. Additionally, in pooled estimates, leprosy was associated with being male (RR = 1.33, 95% CI = 1.06–1.67), performing manual labor (RR = 2.15, 95% CI = 0.97–4.74), suffering from food shortage in the past (RR = 1.39, 95% CI = 1.05–1.85), being a household contact of a leprosy patient (RR = 3.40, 95% CI = 2.24–5.18), and living in a crowded household (≥5 per household) (RR = 1.38, 95% CI = 1.14–1.67). Lack of clean water did not appear to be a risk marker of leprosy (RR = 0.94, 95% CI = 0.65–1.35). Additionally, ecological studies provided evidence that lower inequality, better human development, increased healthcare coverage, and cash transfer programs are linked with lower leprosy risks. These findings point to a consistent relationship between leprosy and unfavorable economic circumstances and, thereby, underscore the pressing need of leprosy control policies to target socially vulnerable groups in high-burden countries.
To detect areas with increased case-detection rates, we used spatial scan statistics to identify 5 of 10 clusters of leprosy in the Amazon region of Brazil. Despite increasing economic development, population growth, and road infrastructure, leprosy is endemic to this region, which is a source of case exportation to other parts of Brazil.
ObjectiveTo evaluate the risk factors related to worsening of physical disabilities after treatment discharge among patients with leprosy administered 12 consecutive monthly doses of multidrug therapy (MDT/WHO).MethodsCohort study was carried out at the Leprosy Laboratory in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. We evaluated patients with multibacillary leprosy treated (MDT/WHO) between 1997 and 2007. The Cox proportional hazards model was used to estimate the relationship between the onset of physical disabilities after release from treatment and epidemiological and clinical characteristics.ResultsThe total observation time period for the 368 patients was 1 570 person-years (PY), averaging 4.3 years per patient. The overall incidence rate of worsening of disability was 6.5/100 PY. Among those who began treatment with no disability, the incidence rate of physical disability was 4.5/100 PY. Among those who started treatment with Grade 1 or 2 disabilities, the incidence rate of deterioration was 10.5/100 PY. The survival analysis evidenced that when disability grade was 1, the risk was 1.61 (95% CI: 1.02–2.56), when disability was 2, the risk was 2.37 (95% CI 1.35–4.16), and when the number of skin lesions was 15 or more, an HR = 1.97 (95% CI: 1.07–3.63). Patients with neuritis showed a 65% increased risk of worsening of disability (HR = 1.65 [95% CI: 1.08–2.52]).ConclusionImpairment at diagnosis was the main risk factor for neurological worsening after treatment/MDT. Early diagnosis and prompt treatment of reactional episodes remain the main means of preventing physical disabilities.
SettingTreatment default is a serious problem in tuberculosis control because it implies persistence of infection source, increased mortality, increased relapse rates and facilitates the development of resistant strains.ObjectiveThis study analyzed tuberculosis treatment default determinants in the Amazonas State to contribute in planning appropriate control interventions.DesignObservational study with a retrospective cohort using Brazilian Disease Notification System data from 2005 to 2010. A nested case control study design was used. Patients defaulting from treatment were considered as ‘cases’ and those completing treatment as ‘controls’. In the analysis, 11,312 tuberculosis patients were included, 1,584 cases and 9,728 controls.ResultsTreatment default was observed to be associated to previous default (aOR 3.20; p<0.001), HIV positivity (aOR 1.62; p<0.001), alcoholism (aOR 1.51; p<0.001), low education level (aOR 1.35; p<0.001) and other co-morbidities (aOR 1.31; p = 0.05). Older patients (aOR 0.98; p = 0.001) and DOT (aOR 0,72; p<0.01) were considered as protective factor for default.ConclusionsAssociated factors should be considered in addressing care and policy actions to tuberculosis control. Information on disease and treatment should be intensified and appropriate to the level of education of the population, in order to promote adherence to treatment and counter the spread of multidrug resistance to anti-TB drugs.
In this review, the most relevant and current epidemiological data, the main clinical, laboratory and therapeutical aspects of leprosy are presented. Detailed discussion of the main drugs used for leprosy treatment, their most relevant adverse effects, evolution of the therapeutic regimen, from dapsone as a monotherapy to the proposed polychemotherapy by World Health Organization (WHO) can be found in this CME. We specifically highlight the drug acceptability, reduction in treatment duration and the most recent proposal of a single therapeutic regimen, with a fixed six months duration, for all clinical presentations, regardless of their classification.
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