Renaissance of Hansen's Disease in Post-Elimination Era in North India: A Retrospective Clinico-Bacteriological Study.
Introduction Hansen's disease is a chronic infectious disease caused by . India declared the elimination of leprosy in December 2005, but a slow resurgence of the disease still continues in several parts of India. The diagnosis of leprosy is primarily clinical but slit-skin smear microscopy aids in an accurate diagnosis. There are very few studies on clinico-bacteriological patterns of leprosy at this post-elimination phase. Aim This study aimed to analyze the clinical and bacteriological findings of newly diagnosed cases of Hansen's disease in the post-elimination era. Materials and methods This is a descriptive, hospital-based, retrospective study of newly diagnosed cases of Hansen's disease, enrolled in the Hansen's disease clinic attached to the dermatology outpatient department (OPD) of a tertiary care hospital in North India. A retrospective chart review of newly diagnosed cases of leprosy for a period of one year was done. Information about demographics, clinical characteristics, spectrum of disease, and slit skin smear data of patients were collected. Statistical analysis was performed using SPSS Version 16.0 (Chicago, IL, SPSS Inc.). Result A total of 116 patients were included of which 68.1% (79) were males. The age of patients ranged from 7 to 72 years and children (<15 years) constituted 6% (7/116) of all cases. The most common clinical spectrum was borderline lepromatous leprosy 37.9% (44/116) followed by lepromatous leprosy 32.8% (38/116). Out of 116 cases, 39.6% of cases showed slit-skin smear positivity. Conclusion The study brings forth evidence on the slow re-emergence of leprosy in India. In this study, multibacillary cases outnumber the paucibacillary cases; also, childhood cases were encountered indicating active community spread of the disease in the "post-elimination era." There is an urgent need to step up the surveillance for Hansen's disease to curb the further spread of the bacilli in the community.