Risk factors for physical disability due to leprosy: a case-control study
ABSTRACT Background The main consequence of leprosy is physical disability. Objective To identify risk factors of physical disabilities due to leprosy. Method Case-control study carried out at the Notifiable Diseases Information System – Leprosy in the 9th Regional Health District of the state of Paraíba, Brazil, between 2001 and 2014. Cases were individuals who presented degree of physical disability 1 or 2 at diagnosis or discharge; and controls included individuals with degree of physical disability 0 also at diagnosis and discharge. A 1:1 (case:control) proportion was used. Data were analyzed using the Epi Info and BioEstat software packages. Results The following cases and controls (428 each) at risk for physical disability were analyzed: aged ≥15 years (96.5%, OR=0.33, p<0.01), males (59.3%, OR=1.82, p<0.01), low education level (70.4%, OR=2.66, p<0.01), multibacillary classification (72.9%, OR=9.29; p< 0.01), number of lesions ≥5 (34.3%, OR=0.18, p<0.01), and number of nerves affected ≥1 (12.6%, OR=0.05; p<0.01). Late diagnosis, missing/inadequately filled data, absence/non-registration of dermato-neurological evaluation, and low control of contacts were observed. Conclusion The need for active surveillance and early detection of leprosy cases and contacts is highlighted.