Accurate recording and reporting of data is a difficult and time-consuming task.
The introduction of free leprosy treatment (multidrug therapy) in the 1980s resulted in a significant decline in people newly affected by leprosy. For example: the number of people newly affected fell from 5.4 million in the early 1980s to 1.7 million in 1994, to 210,758 in 2015. Some facts:
- Most new cases can be found in India, Brazil and Indonesia: they accounted for 81% of new cases in 2015
- The detection of leprosy in children shows the continued transmission of leprosy; in 2015 8.9% of new cases was a child
- The proportion of new cases with grade 2 disabilities (severe impairments) shows the delay in detection of leprosy – people are detected when disabilities have already occurred. In 2015, 6.7% of new cases had grade 2 disabilities
The World Health Organization (WHO) collects and organises information about leprosy from around the world. Accurate and timely recording of data will help us to understand and treat leprosy. Every year in September the WHO publishes its Weekly Epidemiological Record (the WHO WER) that has an overview of statistics about leprosy. Download the latest WHO WER (September 2016) here.
Other relevant publications
- The WHO’s Weekly Epidemiological Record.
- The Bangkok Declaration for a leprosy free world (2013), an international summit held in 2013 to address the stagnation in leprosy control.
- The Missing Millions (2015), a report about the large number of people affected by leprosy who are undetected.
- The WHO disability grading (2003), the classification of disability in leprosy.
- ‘Leprosy Elimination: Not as Straightforward as it Seemed’ (2008) an article by Dr Paul Saunderson.
- ILEP’s publication ‘The interpretation of epidemiological indicators in leprosy’ in English or French for epidemiological facts and analysis.