Seroepidemiologic survey of the household contacts of leprosy patients.
OBJECTIVE: Leprosy is a disabling infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae. This study aimed to investigate the prevalence of leprosy among household contacts of leprosy patients.
METHODS: This study is a serological survey in household contacts of leprosy patients who had been treated or were undergoing treatment in the city of Presidente Prudente, São Paulo, Brazil, from 2006-2016, using clinical examination and screening for anti- Phenolic glycolipid-I antibodies with Mycobacterium leprae-flow serology.
RESULTS: A total of 263 index cases of leprosy were identified during the study period. Of these, 53 were approached, and among their household contacts, 108 were examined. The ML-flow test was positive in 2 (1.85%) individuals, but clinical examination revealed no signs or symptoms of leprosy in them. Therefore, they were considered to have a subclinical infection. Leprosy was not confirmed in any household contacts. In this study, a lower percentage of household contacts, when compared to that in the literature, had a positive Mycobacterium leprae-flow test result.
CONCLUSION: The use of Mycobacterium leprae-flow should be encouraged during the follow-up of at-risk populations, such as the household contacts of leprosy patients.