Kathmandu, January 28
Though the government had on 19 January 2010 announced the elimination of leprosy from the country, it still continues unabated in 17 districts.
The state of elimination is understood when there is no more than a single case of leprosy among 10,000 population.
Jhapa, Morang, Udayapur, Bara, Dhanusha, Mahottari, Parsa, Rautahat, Sarlahi, Siraha, Banke, Bardiya, Kapilvastu, Nawalparasi West, Rupandehi, Kailali and Achham have higher rate of leprosy cases than the elimination level.
Data of the past nine years indicated some 3,000 new leprosy cases were identified in the country annually, according to Epidemiology and Disease Control Division. As many as 3,282 new leprosy patients were identified in the country in the last fiscal.
Province 2 has the highest number of leprosy cases. As many as 1,484 cases of leprosy were recorded in Province 2 followed by 719 in Province 5, 471 in Province 1, 266 in Sudurpaschim Province, 165 in Bagmati Province, 89 in Karnali Province and 88 in Gandaki Province.
Leprosy Control and Disability Management Section Officiating Chief Dr Uttam Ghimire said 2,921 patients were under medical treatment till the end of the last fiscal. It is estimated that leprosy has so far caused disabilities in over 31,000 people and the number of those undergoing complete multi-drugs course is over 192,000.
Leprosy is caused by mycobacterium leprae and it is one of the least communicable diseases. Ninety-five per cent people have the resistant capacity against the bacteria, which is transmitted from humans to humans.
A version of this article appears in print on January 29, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.