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Leprosy rate rises by 75% in Piracicaba and specialist warns of danger of late diagnosis;  See symptoms |  Piracicaba and the region

Leprosy rate rises by 75% in Piracicaba and specialist warns of danger of late diagnosis; See symptoms | Piracicaba and the region

Brazil is the second country with the highest number of leprosy cases in the world, after only India – Image: Getty Images

cases Leprosy registered in Piracicaba (SP) By up to 75% since 2020as shown in a survey conducted by the city's health department, the number of confirmed cases of the infectious disease rose from eight that year to 14 in 2023. In 2021, the city had ten cases, and in 2022, there were nine records.

When not treated, leprosy It arrives Skin and nerveswhich may causePhysical disabilities develop into deformities. – ⚠️Learn about symptoms, prevention, and how to treat the disease below.

Piracicaba Tuberculosis and Leprosy Program nurse and interviewer, Pollyanna Garcia, emphasizes that although the number of confirmed cases in the municipality appears small, This number is alarming because most cases are diagnosed late in patients who already have some disability.

Development of confirmed leprosy cases in Piracicaba

Source: Municipal Health Department

Until the 31st of this month, health departments will intensify the work of the Purple January leprosy prevention campaign. All units in the primary care network will actively search for new cases, as well as provide disease-related guidance to the community.

“About 95% of cases are diagnosed late, giving rise to more severe forms of the disease, and in 60% of them, some degree of disability is established. That is why an information campaign as well as the participation of the population is important to obtain an early diagnosis.

Nurse Pollyana Garcia, speaker at the Piracicaba Tuberculosis and Leprosy Program, explains that the disease has a cure and warns of the dangers of late diagnosis – Photo: Piracicaba City Council

In 2021, Limera had eight cases of leprosy and five in 2020.

The speaker at the Piracicaba Tuberculosis and Leprosy Program explains that this disease is one of the oldest diseases known to mankind.

“Leprosy, classified as a neglected disease, remains an important public health problem in the 21st century,” warns Pollyanna Garcia.

Leprosy is an infection caused by Mycobacterium leprae or Hansen's bacillus and mainly affects the skin, with lesions and peripheral nerves, with changes in sensitivity.

  • Physical disabilities and loss of function, especially in the hands, feet and eyes
  • The framework may reach serious limitations

In cases that are diagnosed late, the disease can affect the patient's daily activities, such as brushing teeth, holding a spoon, combing hair, and others.

A rapid test to diagnose leprosy — Photo: Sandro Araujo/Agência Saúde-DF

Signs of suspicion of leprosy are:

  • White, red, or brown spots on any part of the body
  • Loss or change in sensitivity to touch, heat, and pain
  • Areas where hair and sweat have decreased
  • Hooked along the nerves in the arms and legs
  • Decreased sensitivity and muscle strength in the face, hands and feet, due to nerve inflammation

The first symptoms can take two to seven years to appear. Therefore, it is a chronic disease that develops slowly.

BCG vaccination, according to the vaccination schedule, vaccination of contacts, and early diagnosis and treatment are the main forms of prevention of new leprosy infections.

🏥Where are exams taken?
Suspicions are made by specialists in the basic health units (UBS), in primary care, and the patient is referred to the Specialized Center for Infectious Diseases (SIDC) where the diagnosis will be confirmed or not.

😷How is the disease transmitted?
Transmission of infection occurs when a person with leprosy, in the contagious form of the disease, that is, without treatment, removes the bacillus into the external environment, through the upper respiratory tract (nasal secretions, drops of saliva, coughing, sneezing).

Transmission occurs through the upper airways, through contact with droplets of saliva or nasal secretions, and occurs through close and prolonged contact with a sick person who is not undergoing treatment.

🏥Where to find treatment?
The Unified Health System (SUS) provides treatment and disease surveillance in basic health units (UBS) and referral units. The medications are safe and effective.

️Does the patient undergoing treatment also transmit the disease?
Even at the beginning of treatment, the disease stops transmission.

💊What medications are used in treatment?
Three medications called single-dose chemotherapy (MDT-U) are used in the treatment and are available for adults and children, available free of charge and exclusively on the SUS system.

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