Aim: To study the clinico-epidemiological profile of primary neuritic leprosy.
Methods: Retrospective analysis of the leprosy records of clinically diagnosed patients of PNL who attended the Leprosy Clinic from 2000 to 2004 was carried out for details of presenting complaints, age and sex distribution, duration, number of nerves involved and pattern of nerve enlargement, BI (skin), nerve abscess, and deformities.
Results: There were 32 (4.6%) patients of PNL out of a total of 686. Majority (56.2%) had complaints for less than a year. There were 29 (90.6%) males, and 3 (9.4%) females, with 15-30 years as the commonest age-group (65.6%) involved. Paraesthesia and numbness were the presenting complaints in 20 (62.5%), and motor deficit (paresis) in 11 (34.4%); deformities (claw hand, foot drop, trophic changes) were seen in 16 (50%) cases. Polyneuritic pattern was noted in 21 (63.56%) patients and mononeuritic in 11 (16.5%) with ulnar nerve as the most commonly enlarged nerve (63.6%). Nerve abscess was noted in 4 (12.5%) cases. Slit-skin smear was positive in 2 (6.2%) cases only.
Discussion: PNL continues to be common in India. Sensory complaints are early and more common. The disease is more common in males. Polyneuritic pattern was predominant, and the ulnar nerve was the most commonly involved nerve. Majority of the cases belong to the tuberculoid spectrum. Early diagnosis depends on complete neurological examination in order to reduce the sequelae of the disease.