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Anais Brasileiros de Dermatologia

Print version ISSN 0365-0596On-line version ISSN 1806-4841


HINRICHSEN, Sylvia Lemos et al. Epidemiologic aspects of leprosy in the city of Recife, Pernambuco state, 2002. An. Bras. Dermatol. [online]. 2004, vol.79, n.4, pp.413-421. ISSN 0365-0596.

BACKGROUND: As a problem of Public Health in Brazil, leprosy is still important due mainly to its high endemicity. OBJECTIVES: Determine the main characteristics of this disease in the city of Recife, Pernambuco state (PE), in 2002. METHODS: Based on data acquired from a questionnaire completed by patients, a retrospective study was carried out to analyze 100 handbooks of patients attended to in a reference center of Recife in 2002. A data base was elaborated and EPI-INFO-6 software was used for the analysis. Simple variable frequencies were obtained and a bi-varied analysis was made by studying ratio differences by means of chi-square. The cut off point was p<0.05. RESULTS: An increase of leprosy was observed to occur with age (7.0% of cases in children and adolescents and 11.0% in adults over 65 years of age), (p<0.001). Distribution per sex showed significant differences (male 57.0%, female 43.0%), (p<0.001). The tuberculoid form had the highest prevalence in all of the age ranges studied, with 42.0% of cases (p<0.001), and its incidence was highest in females, while borderline cases predominated in males (x2=18.83; p<0.001). The paucibacillary forms (tuberculoid and indeterminate) showed only one lesion or two-to-five lesions in 55.4% and 37.5% of the cases, respectively (x2=37.04; p<0.001). CONCLUSIONS: It was possible to demonstrate that Recife is still an endemic region due to a high incidence of the tuberculoid form, i.e. the epidemiological pointer suggestive of increased endemic diseases in the region. Only with the diagnosis and early treatment of the cases can the transmission of the illness chain be broken.

Keywords : Leprosy; Mycobacterium leprae; epidemiology.

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