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A Clinicodemographic Study of Leprosy in Elderly: 8-Year Data from a Tertiary Care Centre in North India


The changing demographics of India due to better life expectancy has led to significant increase in the geriatric population. Physiological changes due to aging lead to altered biological response to disease as well as coping with it. There are very few published studies that have addressed the issue of geriatric leprosy. This was a retrospective record review of 8-year data from a tertiary care centre in North India of leprosy patients aged 60 years or more. Clinical and demographic details were noted. Data was compared with 154 other leprosy patients aged 18-59 years. Out of 1083 leprosy cases, 80 (7.4%) were elderly and 67.5% of these were males. Majority (92.5%) were in the multibacillary (MB) spectrum. Type 2 reactions were more commonly seen than type 1 reactions in this age group. Pre-existing co-morbidities were present in 52.5% of patients. Grade 2 disability (G2D) was noted in 13.8% of cases, all of whom were in MB spectrum. Comorbidities were significantly higher amongst the elders whereas nerve involvement and G2D rates were higher amongst other leprosy patients (18-59 years). The prevalence of geriatric leprosy is on the rise due to better life expectancy. The high MB rate and G2D rate in geriatric population is a cause of concern for ongoing disease transmission and leprosy control programs. Due to a higher proportion of patients having pre-existing co-morbid conditions and polypharmacy, this sub-group needs special attention and care after release from treatment.

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Journal Article
Narang T
Kamat D
Kumar S
Dogra S