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Leprosy – Hansen’s disease

3 September 2014, by FLAGEUL B.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), since 2008, between 230 000 and 250 000 new cases of leprosy are detected annually worldwide. In 2012, 233 000 new cases were diagnosed, i.e. 4 cases per 100 000 inhabitants. Seventy-one per cent of the new cases were detected in the South-East Asia region, 16% in the Americas, 9% in Africa and 2% each respectively in the Eastern Mediterranean region and in the western Pacific regions. Sixteen countries including Brazil (34 000 cases), India (135 000 cases) and Indonesia (19 000 cases) declared more than 1 000 cases, accounting for 95% of the new cases. For the first time since more than 30 years, an increased number of detected new cases has been observed (+3% compared to 2011) [1]. The situation in Europe is relatively uncertain except in France. New cases are regularly reported in England, Germany, Italy and Switzerland, all in non-natives, and in Spain and Portugal where few cases have also been reported in natives. In metropolitan France, since 1995 about 20 new cases are diagnosed annually, all in non-native inhabitants [2]. In the French Overseas Departments, since 2005, 70 to 90 new cases are detected annually in native inhabitants, particularly in Mayotte (French Comoro Island) and in Guyana.

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