Clinicoepidemiological Profile of Childhood Leprosy in a Tertiary Care Hospital of North Karnataka
Background: Childhood leprosy is an indicator of ongoing transmission of the disease. The prevalence rate of pediatric leprosy is considered an important epidemiological index for determining the level of transmission of the disease. Our aim was to estimate the proportion of leprosy cases among children aged 0–14 years in our tertiary care hospital.
Methods: A retrospective study was carried out for a period of 4 years from January 2017 to December 2020. Secondary data were collected from leprosy records pertaining to childhood leprosy (aged between 0 and 14 years). Only new cases presented during the period were included. Details of the patients such as age, sex, family history, number and site of lesions, nerve involvement, reactions, and deformities were noted. Slit‑skin smear and biopsy findings were tabulated and descriptive analysis was done.
Results: Fifty‑five cases (9.54%) of childhood leprosy were diagnosed. Majority of the cases were in the age group of 10–14 years. The most common leprosy type was borderline tuberculoid found in 42 patients (76.36%). Forty‑nine patients (89.09%) had paucibacillary (PB) and 6 (10.91%) had a multibacillary type. The most common presenting symptom was patch (61.8%). Eleven patients had a family history. Clinicopathological correlation was observed in 50 (90%) patients. Lepra reactions were seen in six (10.9%) patients and two deformities in three patients.
Conclusion: The proportion of pediatric leprosy cases was 11.61% in 2017 and decreased to 6.45% in 2020. PB type is the most common type. To achieve zero childhood leprosy cases, thorough follow‑up and contact tracing of adult leprosy patients, early diagnosis of childhood leprosy to prevent disabilities is the need of the hour.