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Leprosy among female prisoners in Brazil


To estimate the prevalence of leprosy among Brazilian female prisoners and identify factors associated with the disease. Cross-sectional study conducted between 2014 and 2015 in 15 Brazilian female prisons. The data of 1,327 women were collected using Audio Computer-Assisted Self-Interviewing and dermatological and neurological examination to identify suspicious lesions of leprosy. The average age was 33.4 years. Suspicion of leprosy was identified in 5.1% of women in prison, and lifetime self-reported prevalence was 7.5%. The variables that were associated with lifetime self-reported leprosy were: women in prison once being twice as likely to have leprosy; white women were 1.4 time more likely to have leprosy than non-white women; women who knew someone with leprosy was 1.9 time more likely to have leprosy; and women who shared a cell with 11 or more women were 2.5 times more likely to have leprosy than women who shared a cell with two or fewer people. The leprosy prevalence among female prisoners in Brazil were greater than that found in a Brazilian woman of the general population and show the extremely high vulnerability of this population generated through pre-incarceration poverty, as well as potential transmission in prison.

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Journal Article
Parente EDO
Leal M
Kendall C
Mota RMS
Pires Neto RDJ
Macena RHM
Kerr L