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Practical Material

Guidelines for global surveillance of drug resistance in leprosy

The eventual emergence of drug resistance is a significant cause for concern and threat to many infectious disease control programmes, especially when secondary prevention (‎chemotherapy)‎ is the main component of the control strategy. For leprosy, a chronic disease accompanied by social stigma, drug resistance poses a serious impediment to its control. This is particularly worrying at the stage where a dramatic decline in prevalence and new case detection has been achieved after to intensive and concerted chemotherapy interventions made by the national programmes and its global partners. In order to meet the challenges of containing the disease and to sustain the ongoing declining trend in leprosy cases in endemic countries, it is essential to keep a vigil on drug sensitivity patterns in vulnerable settings. WHO has developed a simple guideline that outlines the standard tools and procedures for key components of laboratory and field protocols to be followed for surveillance of drug resistance in leprosy.

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