Prevalence of leprosy among household contacts of leprosy cases in western Orissa

Indian J Lepr. 2004 Jan-Mar;76(1):19-29.


The prevalence rate of leprosy among household contacts is an important epidemiological indicator in the character and trend of the disease. During the period January 2001 to December 2002, families of 400 primary cases were studied to detect contact (secondary) cases. Seventy-two cases were detected from 54 families; of these 72 cases, 45 (62.5%) were in the paediatric age-group (0-14 years) and of these 45.8% belonged to 6-14 years group. Out of the 72 cases, there were more (58) of paucibacillary (PNL+I+TT+BT) cases. Secondary cases were significantly high when there was lepromatous type of leprosy in the family. The attack rate among those exposed to paucibacillary type (TT, BT) of leprosy, though much less, was still observed. The influence of duration of contact revealed that a maximum number of cases (N=43, 59.7%) acquired the disease during 0-6 years of contact. A majority of the patients belonged to low-income groups, were illiterate and lived in extended families. The father was the source case for most of the secondary cases (N=41, 57%). Conjugal leprosy was very rare. The results of the study points to the fact that PB leprosy is still a potential source of infection and cannot be ignored. It is important to evolve a hospital-based surveillance programme for contacts of leprosy patients since early detection and treatment of contacts are important measures for reducing the reservoir of infection in the community.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Educational Status
  • Epidemiologic Methods
  • Family
  • Female
  • Humans
  • India / epidemiology
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Leprosy / classification
  • Leprosy / epidemiology*
  • Leprosy / transmission
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Sex Distribution
  • Time Factors