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Epidemiology of Hansen’s Disease


This chapter presents a current discussion on the epidemiology of HD-based standardized indicators of the burden of disease—incidence, prevalence, relapse—combined with indicators related to operational aspects. The latter describe the quality of the health services relevant for the HD program—including the proportion of cases evaluated and diagnosed with disabilities, the proportion cured, and the number of those abandoning treatment. Cases with worsening disabilities during and after MDT, misdiagnosis, and death due to HD are also relevant for the quality of the program. We considered the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic response, demanding new strategies to reduce the burden of HD as part of the group of Neglected Tropical Diseases. The base for the future interruption of transmission is provided by the introduction of new diagnostic tests in combination with the existing tools for active case detection, and the scaling up of leprosy prevention with post-exposure prophylaxis.

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