Population-wide administration of single dose rifampicin for leprosy prevention in isolated communities: a three year follow-up feasibility study in Indonesia.
BACKGROUND: Indonesia ranking third in the world, regarding leprosy burden. Chemoprophylaxis is effective in reducing risk of developing leprosy among contacts. 'Blanket approach' is an operational strategy for leprosy post-exposure prophylaxis in which all members of an isolated community, high endemic for leprosy are screened and given a single dose of rifampicin (SDR) in the absence of signs and symptoms of leprosy. The objective is to assess the operational feasibility of a population-wide 'blanket' administration of SDR for leprosy prevention in isolated communities in a remote island.
METHODS: A prospective follow-up study was conducted in the year 2014, 2015 and 2016 in Lingat village of Selaru Island, Indonesia. During the first two visits, screening and SDR were provided, whereas only screening was conducted during the third visit. The demographic and clinical data were used for a descriptive analysis of the project coverage and leprosy epidemiology.
RESULTS: During the first two visits, 1671 persons (88%) were screened, 1499 (79%) received SDR, and 213 (11%) were excluded based on the exclusion criteria. During the first two visits, 43 (2.6%) cases were diagnosed with leprosy with a rate of 2263 per 100,000 population. The prevalence was highest in the age groups 15-24 and 25-49 years. Total, 14 (33%) cases had MB and 29 (67%) PB leprosy. Two cases (5%) had grade 2 disability. During the third visit, 10 new leprosy cases, with no grade 2 disability, were detected out of 1481 screened persons at the rate of 484 cases per 100,000 population (n = 2065 population in 2016). Among those screened during the third visit, there was a 50% reduction of leprosy among those who had previously received SDR compared to those who had not.
CONCLUSION: With adequate planning and some additional investment, it is feasible to implement a blanket approach of chemoprophylaxis in a remote island of Indonesia, although effort needs to be made to cover as many people as possible in the first visit. Contingency plans need to be made to actively follow this village closely in the coming years and continue leprosy elimination efforts until no new cases are found any more.