Spatial distribution pattern of new leprosy cases under 15 years of age and their contacts in Sobral, Ceará, Brazil
Abstract This study’s objective was to analyze the spatial distribution pattern of new leprosy cases under 15 years and their contacts. A cross-sectional descriptive study covering sociodemographic characteristics and spatial analysis was carried out. The participants were from the city of Sobral, Ceará and the study was conducted between August 2014 and September 2015. Contacts were identified by the persons responsible for the children. Seropositivity was determined with the NDO-LID antigen, and positive cases were plotted on Voronoi polygons. Nine new cases of leprosy under 15 years of age have been found. The average number of people living with the cases was higher than the number of people living with non-household contacts. All household contacts were aware of other leprosy cases and had a higher rate of seropositive tests than non-household contacts. The index cases lived in the poorest regions of the municipality and hyper-endemic areas. Spatial analysis revealed a cluster of subclinical infection within a radius of 102 meters, suggesting that non-household transmission is related to proximity with seropositive individuals. In conclusion, the search for new leprosy cases cannot be restricted to household contacts.