Population survey to determine risk factors for Mycobacterium leprae transmission and infection


M.I. Bakker, M. Hatta, A. Kwenang, William R. Faber (ed.), S.M. van Beers, P.R. Klatser, L. Oskam

Leprosy is an infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae and is endemic in many developing countries. The World Health Organization (WHO) has adopted the goal of eliminating leprosy as a public health problem by the year 2005, defined as reducing the national prevalence below 1/10 000.1 Until now, the prevalence decreased mainly due to the introduction and subsequent shortening of multidrug treatment (MDT). Leprosy control strategies are designed to stop transmission through early case detection and treatment with MDT, but do not seem to have the desired effect. The number of new cases—719 330 in 20002—did not decline over the last 15 years, indicating that transmission is continuing at the same level.