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Spatial analysis of the epidemiological risk of leprosy in the municipalities of Minas Gerais


Background: Leprosy remains a significant public health problem of high importance. This investigation aims to analyze the spatial distribution of the leprosy epidemiological risk in the municipalities of Minas Gerais.

Methods: This ecological study was conducted with new leprosy cases diagnosed from 2004 to 2019 in the municipalities of the state of Minas Gerais. Based on the epidemiological indicators, a composite indicator called the leprosy epidemiological risk index was estimated, classifying municipalities as high, medium, low and very low risk. For the spatial analysis, the global and local spatial autocorrelation statistics were used to identify the spatial distribution of the leprosy epidemiological risk in the periods 2004–2011 and 2012–2019 and classified as High/High, Low/Low, High/Low and Low /High.

Results: Although leprosy is declining in the state of Minas Gerais, the Global Moran Index confirmed the spatial dependence between municipalities for the two analyzed periods, characterizing the formation of clusters. When performing the local spatial autocorrelation, it was found that the macroregions with the highest number of municipalities with high indices, surrounded by other municipalities with high indices (high-high), were Northwest, East, South East, North, and Northeast. The low risk macroregions were Southeast, Center, South-Center and South.

Conclusion: Leprosy has a heterogeneous spatial pattern and remains concentrated in historically endemic areas of the state. It underscores the importance of intensifying actions to combat leprosy in these municipalities and macroregions. Promote improved access to health services and combat stigma and prejudice to eliminate leprosy as a public health problem.

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Journal Article
Bueno IDC
Lages DDS
Lana FCF
Fairley JK