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The potential role of artificial intelligence in the clinical management of Hansen’s disease (leprosy)


Missed and delayed diagnoses of Hansen’s disease (HD) are making the battle against it even more complex, increasing its transmission and significantly impacting those affected and their families. This strains public health systems and raises the risk of lifelong impairments and disabilities. Worryingly, the three countries most affected by HD witnessed a growth in new cases in 2022, jeopardizing the World Health Organization’s targets to interrupt transmission. Artificial intelligence (AI) can help address these challenges by offering the potential for rapid case detection, customized treatment, and solutions for accessibility challenges—especially in regions with a shortage of trained healthcare professionals. This perspective article explores how AI can significantly impact the clinical management of HD, focusing on therapeutic strategies. AI can help classify cases, ensure multidrug therapy compliance, monitor geographical treatment coverage, and detect adverse drug reactions and antimicrobial resistance. In addition, AI can assist in the early detection of nerve damage, which aids in disability prevention and planning rehabilitation. Incorporating AI into mental health counseling is also a promising contribution to combating the stigma associated with HD. By revolutionizing therapeutic approaches, AI offers a holistic solution to reduce the burden of HD and improve patient outcomes.

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Journal Article
Deps PD
Yotsu R
Furriel BCRS
de Oliveira BD
de Lima SL
Loureiro RM