Neural complications and physical disabilities in leprosy in a capital of northeastern Brazil with high endemicity

Ana Eugênia Ribeiro de Araújo e Araújo Dorlene Maria Cardoso de Aquino Isabela Maria Bernardes Goulart Silma Regina Ferreira Pereira Ivan Abreu Figueiredo Humberto Oliveira Serra Poliana Cristina de Almeida Fonseca Arlene de Jesus Mendes Caldas About the authors

INTRODUCTION:

Leprosy is an infectious disease whose etiologic agent is Mycobacterium leprae, manifested by dermatological and neurological signs and symptoms.

OBJECTIVE:

To investigate neural changes and the degree of physical disability in the eyes, hands and feet before and after treatment, as well as sociodemographic and clinical profile of patients affected by leprosy.

METHOD:

A longitudinal epidemiological study comprising 155 patients with leprosy, from a spontaneous demand, diagnosed between March 2010 and February 2011, and treated with multidrug therapy (MDT) between March 2010 and July 2012 in a program for leprosy eradication in São Luis (MA), Brazil.

RESULTS:

Before treatment, 46.5% of patients were considered as borderline, 51.6% had some alteration in the eyes and 52.3% in the feet, and the radial nerve (18.7%) was the most affected. There was a statistically significant difference between the changes in the radial nerve at the beginning of and after treatment.

CONCLUSIONS:

The analysis points to late diagnosis, as some patients have had abnormal neural and physical disabilities before treatment.

Leprosy; Therapeutics; Disabled persons; Mycobacterium leprae; Nerve degeneration; Epidemiology


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