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Report of a Leprosy case in Singapore: an age-old disease not to be forgotten in developed countries with low-prevalence settings.


Introduction: Leprosy is rarely reported in developed countries with low-prevalence settings. Its diagnosis may be missed due to its low frequency in non-endemic regions, as well as its long incubation period. The report describes an imported leprosy case of a healthcare worker in Singapore.

Case presentation: A Filipino nursing personnel presented with a persistent non-tender erythematous plaque over his right upper back for many years despite topical treatment. He had the lesion before coming to Singapore but decided to seek medical consultation only after the lesion progressed with new erythematous papules developing over his face, trunk and upper limbs. Punch biopsies of skin lesions revealed fite-positive bacilli, which were identified to be by GenoType LepraeDR v1 assay (Hain LifeScience, Germany). No mutation was detected at (rifampicin), (ofloxacin) and (dapsone) gene targets. He was started on multi-drug therapy and responded to the treatment. The only prolonged close contact he had was his housemate who was screened and given a single dose of rifampicin as chemoprophylaxis.

Conclusion: In non-endemic settings, awareness is crucial in diagnosing leprosy. The availability of molecular testing and multi-disciplinary management are essential in the confirmation and control of this disease of public health importance.

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Journal Article
Tan YE
Yeo YW
Chan M
Pang S
Sng L