Leprosy elimination

Elimination of leprosy FAQ

What is the definition of a case of leprosy? Does it include cured patients who still have residual disabilities?

WHO's Guide to Eliminate Leprosy as a Public Health Problem (1997) defines a case of leprosy as a person having one or more of the following, and who has yet to complete a full course of treatment:

  • hypopigmented or reddish skin lesion(s) with definite loss of sensation
  • damage to the peripheral nerves, as demonstrated by loss of sensation and mobility to hand, feet or face
  • positive skin smears.

It does not include cured persons with residual disabilities.

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At what level of population cluster is elimination expected to be achieved?

Ideally elimination should be attained at all levels - regionally, nationally and at the community level. However, in view of the uneven distribution of the disease, it is not always possible to envisage attaining the targeted prevalence level of one in 10,000 population for every local population cluster. At the minimum, we hope to attain elimination levels at the national level, and for larger countries at the first sub-national level (province or state).