Leprosy has begun to be resistant to treatment in some cases and continues to increase in the continents of America and Africa, has informed the Fontilles Foundation, a Spanish referent in the fight against this disease.
On the occasion of the World Day against Leprosy, on Sunday, January 27, the organization recalled that there were 210,671 new cases in the world in 2017, when the first resistance to drugs appeared, reoccurrences increased and continued the high rates of associated disabilities and of detection in minors.
The disease increased this year in Africa (5.3%), America (6.4%), the Western Pacific (4.3 percent), the Eastern Mediterranean (25 percent) and "marginally" in Europe, where it happened from 32 to 33 cases.
However, the diagnoses decreased 3.3% overall due to the decline registered in India (-6.9%) as a result of the weakness of the state campaign to detect leprosy cases.
According to the director of Sensitization and Volunteer of Fontilles, Yolanda Sanchis, in 2017, around 190,000 new infections around the world were stopped, half of those envisaged.
And relapses increased 12.4%, from 2,844 in 2016 to 3,192 in 2017, an increase of 143.3% compared to the 1,312 reported in 2014.
All this shows "a deterioration in the monitoring of the evolution of treatment," the foundation warned.
In turn, 16,979 cases were detected in people under the age of fourteen, 8.1% of the total, indicating the "continuity of transmission in impoverished communities."
Linked to poverty
Leprosy is a disease linked to poverty and communities with serious health deficiencies, so that, without being eradicated, it does not pose a public health problem in European countries.
The World Day Against Leprosy, established in 1954 on the initiative of French journalist Raoul Follereau, aims to raise awareness about the existence of a disease that many people believe eradicated and to obtain the necessary help to prevent it , detect it, reduce the incidence of associated disabilities and guarantee the future of those who suffer or have suffered.