Kathmandu, February 2
Nepal was declared leprosy-free in the year 2010, but the number of new leprosy cases has been increasing over the last few years.
Despite government efforts to eliminate the disease from the country prevalence rate of 0.94 cases per 10,000 was reported in the fiscal 2017/18. According to data with Leprosy Control Division, prevalence rate was 0.79 cases in the fiscal 2010/11, 0.85 cases in 2011/12, 0.84 in 2012/13, 0.85 in 2013/14, 0.89 in 2014/15, 0.89 in 2015/16, and 0.92 in 2016/17.
According to World Health Organisation, leprosy is a chronic infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae, an acid-fast, rod-shaped bacillus. The disease mainly affects the skin, peripheral nerves, mucosa of the upper respiratory tract and the eyes. Leprosy is curable and treatment in the early stages can prevent disability.
WHO has listed 22 countries as high burden leprosy countries in which Nepal is in sixth position. India is on the top of the list with 52.88 per cent new cases detected every year. In Nepal 1.52 per cent new cases of leprosy are detected every year.
Training Supervisor of Anandaban Hospital IndraTamang said as many as 2,733 leprosy patients were receiving treatment in the country and of them 278 were new cases, 237 were children suffering from grade 2 disability and 1,434 were new female patients.
“Every year more than 150 new patients come to the hospital for treatment. In the fiscal 2018/19, 159 new leprosy patients reported to Anandaban Hospital,” Tamang added.
A version of this article appears in print on February 03, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.