Sonography and electrophysiology were complementary for identifying ulnar nerve neuropathy in patients with leprosy, with clinical symptoms as the reference standard. This reinforces the role of sonography in the investigation of leprosy ulnar neuropathy.
To evaluate ultrasonographic (US) cross-sectional areas (CSAs) of peripheral nerves, indexes of the differences between CSAs at the same point (∆CSAs) and between tunnel (T) and pre-tunnel (PT) ulnar CSAs (∆TPTs) in leprosy patients (LPs) and healthy volunteers (HVs sensitivities, respectively, 1.35, 49%, 80% and 0.003 at the PT point, 1.55, 0.70,
BackgroundLeprosy diagnosis is mainly based on clinical evaluation, although this approach is difficult, especially for untrained physicians. We conducted a temporary campaign to detect previously unknown leprosy cases in midwestern Brazil and to compare the performance of different serological tests.MethodsA mobile clinic was stationed at the main bus terminal in Brasília, Brazil. Volunteers were quizzed and given a clinical exam to allow categorization as either patients, known contacts of patients or non-contacts, and blood was collected to determine anti-PGL-I and anti-LID-1 antibody titers by ELISA and by the NDO-LID rapid test. New cases of leprosy and the impact of performing this broad random surveillance strategy were evaluated. Accuracy values and concordance between the test results were evaluated among all groups.ResultsFour hundred thirty-four individuals were evaluated, and 44 (10.1%) were diagnosed with leprosy. Borderline forms were the most frequent presentation. Both tests presented higher positivity in those individuals with multibacillary disease. Serological tests demonstrated specificities arround 70% for anti-PGL-1 and anti-LID ELISA; and arround 40% for NDO-LID. Sensitivities ranged from 48 to 62%. A substantial agreement between NDO-LID and ELISA with concomitant positive results was found within leprosy patients (Kappa index = 0.79 CI95% 0.36–1.22).ConclusionsThe unexpectedly high leprosy prevalence in this population indicates ongoing community-based exposure to Mycobacterium leprae antigens and high rates of subclinical infection. All tests showed low specificity and sensitivity values and therefore cannot be considered for use as stand-alone diagnostics. Rather, considering their positivity among MB patients and non-patients, these tests can be considered effective tools for screening and identifying individuals at high risk who might benefit from regular monitoring.
BackgroundNeurological involvement occurs throughout the leprosy clinical spectrum and is responsible for the most feared consequences of the disease. Ultrasonography (US) provides objective measurements of nerve thickening and asymmetry. We examined leprosy patients before beginning multi-drug therapy aiming to describe differences in US measurements between classification groups and between patients with and without reactions.Methodology/Principal FindingsEleven paucibacillary (PB) and 85 multibacillary (MB) patients underwent nerve US. Twenty-seven patients had leprosy reactions (type 1, type 2 and/or acute neuritis) prior to US. The ulnar (at the cubital tunnel–Ut–and proximal to the tunnel–Upt), median (M) and common fibular (CF) nerves were scanned to measure cross-sectional areas (CSAs) in mm2 and to calculate the asymmetry indexes ΔCSA (absolute difference between right and left CSAs) and ΔUtpt (absolute difference between Upt and Ut CSAs). MB patients showed greater (p<0.05) CSAs than PB at Ut (13.88±11.4/9.53±6.14) and M (10.41±5.4/6.36±0.84). ΔCSAs and ΔUtpt were similar between PB and MB. The CSAs, ΔCSAs and ΔUtpt were similar between PB patients with reactions compared to PB patients without reactions. MB patients with reactions showed significantly greater CSAs (Upt, Ut and M), ΔCSAs (Upt and Ut) and ΔUtpt compared to MB patients without reactions. PB and MB showed similar frequencies of abnormal US measurements. Patients with reactions had higher frequency of nerve thickening and similar frequency of asymmetry to those without reactions.Conclusions/SignificanceThis is the first study to investigate differences in nerve involvement among leprosy classification groups using US before treatment. The magnitude of thickening was greater in MB and in patients with reactions. Asymmetry indexes were greater in patients with reactions and did not significantly differ between PB and MB, demonstrating that asymmetry is a characteristic of leprosy neuropathy regardless of its classification.
Leprosy is still an endemic disease, especially in Third World countries, and, because of migration, it still persists in Europe and the United States. The disease affects the peripheral nerves, skin, and multiple internal organs, making its clinical recognition difficult. In particular, the endocrine manifestations caused by leprosy have been underestimated, even by specialists. The endocrine changes present in leprosy include hypogonadism, sterility, and osteoporosis. In addition, the spectral immune nature of leprosy offers an attractive model to investigate the pathogenetic correlation between the patterns of inflammation in the poles of its spectrum and the hormonal disarrangements observed in this disease. It is important that those involved in leprosy management be aware of the potential endocrine changes and their treatment to address the disease in all of its aspects. In this article, we review the findings on endocrine dysfunction in leprosy, including a survey of the literature and of our own work.
BackgroundPrevious studies have shown that leprosy multi-drug therapy (MDT) does not stop the progression of nerve function impairment. There are no prospective studies investigating the evolution of nerve anatomic abnormalities after treatment. We examined leprosy patients aiming to investigate the evolution of nerve ultrasonography (US) abnormalities and the risk factors for poor outcomes after MDT.Methodology/Principal findingsWe performed bilateral US of the ulnar (U), median (M) and common fibular (CF) nerves in 9 paucibacillary (PB) and 64 multibacillary (MB) patients before and after MDT. Forty-two patients had leprosy reactions (type 1, type 2, acute neuritis) during the study. We analyzed nerve maximum cross-sectional areas (CSA), echogenicity and Doppler signal. Poor outcomes included a post-treatment CSA above normal limits with a reduction of less than 30% (U, M) or 40% (CF) from the baseline, echogenicity abnormalities or intraneural Doppler in the post-treatment study. We found that PB and patients without reactions showed significant increases in CSA at CF, whereas MB and patients with reactions had CSA reduction in some nerves after treatment (p<0.05). Despite this reduction, we observed a greater frequency of poor CSA outcomes in the MB compared to the PB (77.8% and 40.6%; p>0.05) and in the patients with reactions compared to those without (66.7% and 38.7%; p<0.05). There was significantly higher odds ratio (7.75; 95%CI: 1.56–38.45) for poor CSA outcomes only for M nerve in patients with reactions. Poor echogenicity outcomes were more frequent in MB (59.4%) compared to PB (22.2%) (p<0.05). There was significant association between poor Doppler outcomes and neuritis. Gender, disease duration, and leprosy classification were not significant risk factors for poor outcomes in CSA, echogenicity or Doppler.Conclusions/SignificanceUS nerve abnormalities can worsen after treatment despite the leprosy classification or the presence of reactions.
SummaryClassi®cation of leprosy patients into paucibacillary (PB) and multibacillary (MB) determines the duration of treatment; misclassi®cation increases the risk of relapse because of insuf®cient treatment if an MB patient is classi®ed as PB. We explored the possibility of using a simple dipstick assay based on the detection of antibodies to the Mycobacterium leprae-speci®c phenolic glycolipid-I (PGL-I) as a tool for classi®cation of patients into PB and MB for treatment purposes. The sensitivity of the dipstick test for detection of MB patients was 85.1%, the speci®city 77.7%. We found that of the 71 dipstick negative PB patients 25 (35.2%) were clinically cured at the end of treatment, compared with only two (9.5%) of the 21 dipstick positive PB patients. Of 170 patients in the study population, nine (5.3%) relapsed within the 5-year follow-up period 2 . Seven were MB patients, all dipstick positive. Two PB patients relapsed, one was dipstick negative and one was dipstick positive. Dipstick positivity is a risk factor for the future development of relapses, especially in those groups of patients who had received a shorter-than-usual course of treatment and the dipstick can be used as an additional, simple tool for classi®cation of patients and for identi®cation of those patients who have an increased risk of relapse.keywords Mycobacterium leprae, leprosy, leprosy classi®cation, PGL-I dipstick assay, relapse correspondence Samira Bu È hrer-Se Âkula,
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