[Factors associated with household and family in leprosy transmission in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil].
A cross-sectional study was carried out to characterize the contribution of several household characteristics to the transmission of leprosy. Households with diagnosed cases of illness were compared to two healthy groups. All randomly selected households were located in the municipality of Sao Goncalo, in the State of Rio de Janeiro. Using an aerial map with the description of the census tract, 2,412 cases were marked. Three groups were established, while the household was the analytical unit: group I - households with cases; group II - neighboring households; and group III - households located in tracts with no reported case of illness, that is, outside disease foci. Group I was compared with that of neighboring households using a multiple logistic regression model by conditional methods. Unconditional methods were used to compare groups I and III. Group I as compared to Group II showed an association with age and educational level for households and heads of families. Comparison of characteristics of the heads of families and households with cases of leprosy with those located outside the focus showed that the differential factors were age, type of dwelling, and availability of running water. This is probably due to more recent settlement in a peripheral region where water resources are not available yet. Households are the basic ecological unit, and age and educational level are determinant factors for leprosy morbidity in this area.