Leprosy in children and adolescents under 15 years old in an urban centre in Brazil.
This original study describes the intra-urban distribution of cases of leprosy in residents under 15 years old in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil; the study also identifies the environment in which Mycobacterium leprae is being transmitted. The cases were distributed by operational classification, clinical forms, type of contact and the addresses were geo-referenced by neighborhood. Between 2007 and 2011, were reported 145 cases of leprosy in target population living in Salvador, corresponding to detection rates of 6.21, 6.14, 5.58, 5.41 and 6.88/100,000 inhabitants, respectively. The spatial distribution of the disease was focal. Of the 157 neighborhoods of Salvador, 44 (28.6%) notified cases of leprosy and in 22 (50%) of these were detected more than 10 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. The infectious forms were found in 40% of cases. Over 90% of cases had been living in Salvador for more than five years. Overall, 52.6% reported having had contact with another infected individual inside the household and 25% in their social circle. In Salvador, M. leprae transmission is established. The situation is a major concern, since transmission is intense at an early age, indicating that this endemic disease is expanding and contacts extend beyond individual households.