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A study on transmission and a trial of chemoprophylaxis in contacts of leprosy patients: design, methodology and recruitment findings of COLEP.


In this article, we describe the design, methodology and recruitment findings of the COLEP study. The objectives of this study were to determine the effectiveness of chemoprophylaxis with a single dose of rifampicin in the prevention of leprosy among close contacts of leprosy patients, and to find characteristics of contact groups most at risk to develop clinical leprosy. These characteristics should be usable by routine leprosy control programmes. COLEP consists of a cluster randomized, double-blind and placebo-controlled trial, a cohort study to determine risk factors characterizing the sub-groups most at risk within the total contact group of a patient, and a cohort study using a reference group from the general population to determine the prevalence and incidence of leprosy in the total population of the study area. The follow-up period will be 4 years. A coding system was developed describing the physical and genetic distance of the contact person to the patient. This study in Bangladesh includes 1037 newly diagnosed and previously untreated leprosy patients and their 21,867 contacts. The prevalence of leprosy among contacts was 7.3 per 1000. A total of 21,708 contacts without signs and symptoms of clinical leprosy are included in a trial of chemoprophylaxis with single dose rifampicin, and randomized at contact group level in treatment and placebo arms. The results of this large field trial will become available in the years to come.

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Journal Article
Moet F J
Oskam L
Faber R
Pahan D
Richardus J H