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Revista da Sociedade Brasileira de Medicina Tropical
On-line version ISSN 1678-9849
ARAUJO, Marcelo Grossi. Leprosy in Brazil. Rev. Soc. Bras. Med. Trop. [online]. 2003, vol.36, n.3, pp.373-382. ISSN 1678-9849. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0037-86822003000300010.
Leprosy or Hansen's disease is a chronic infectious disease caused by the Mycobacterium leprae. The skin and nervous manifestations of the disease present a singular clinical picture that is easily recognized. After India, Brazil still is the second country with the greatest number of cases in the world. Around 94% of the known cases and 94% of the new cases reported in America, come from Brazil. The disease presents itself in two well-defined stable and opposite poles (lepromatous and tuberculoid) and two unstable groups (indeterminate and dimorphic). The spectrum of presentation of the disease may also be classified as: tuberculoid tuberculoid (TT), borderline tuberculoid (BT), borderline borderline (BB), borderline lepromatous (BL) and lepromatous lepromatous (LL). The finding of acid fast bacillus in tissue is the most useful method of diagnosis. The effective treatment of leprosy includes the use of specific therapy, suppression of lepra reactions, prevention of physical incapacity, and physical and psychosocial rehabilitation. Chemotherapy with rifampin, dapsone and clofazimine have produced very good results and the control of the disease in Brazil in the foreseeable future is likely.
Keywords : Leprosy; Hansen's disease; Mycobacterium leprae; Mycobacteriosis.