Saturday, June 15, 2024

Pediatric Leprosy

Background

Leprosy was described almost 3000 years ago and is still associated with stigma. The causative pathogen, Mycobacterium leprae, was first described in 1873, when Gerhard Armauer Henrik Hansen discovered it while examining lymph nodes and other tissues obtained from patients with leprosy. Although significant progress was made during the 20th century in the treatment and eradication of this disease, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that the worldwide prevalence is still in the area of 10-12 million cases.

Neuromuscular symptoms associated with this disease are occasionally the first to be observed. Patients may also present with a history of chronic nasal discharge, which is frequently observed in individuals with lepromatous leprosy who have upper airway compromise. The hallmark clinical findings in leprosy are hypopigmented skin lesions with loss of sensation. These lesions are observed more frequently in the cooler areas of the body, such as the nose and earlobes. (See Clinical.)

Prolonged therapeutic regimens have traditionally been recommended in the treatment of leprosy; however, recent recommendations focus on regimens with shorter duration. The drugs that are more frequently used in the treatment of leprosy include rifampin, dapsone, clofazimine, ofloxacin, minocycline, and clarithromycin. Reconstructive surgery may be indicated in patients with soft tissue defects, particularly for plantar ulcerations in patients with leprosy. (See Treatment.)

Go to Leprosy for more information.

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