[The current challenge of imported leprosy in Spain: a study of 7 cases]

Actas Dermosifiliogr. 2011 Mar;102(2):106-13. doi: 10.1016/j.ad.2010.10.008. Epub 2011 Feb 22.
[Article in Spanish]


Background: although the foci of leprosy once present in Spain are now under control and almost inactive, isolated cases are still occasionally diagnosed. Meanwhile, population migration has brought about an increase in the incidence of cases corresponding to individuals from countries where leprosy is endemic, leading to changes in the epidemiology of this disease.

Objectives: the aim of this paper was to describe the clinical, epidemiologic, dermatologic, microbiologic, and therapeutic characteristics of cases of leprosy in our department in the last 5 years.

Material and methods: we report the cases of imported leprosy seen in our department between 2004 and 2009.

Results: seven patients with leprosy (3 men and 4 women; age range, 26-80 years) were diagnosed; 2 were cases of tuberculoid leprosy, 2 borderline tuberculoid leprosy, and 3 indeterminate. All patients acquired the disease in South American or South African countries, but were residing in Spain at the time of diagnosis. One patient was a Spaniard, from Malaga, who had worked as a missionary in Venezuela for 25 years. The presence of the bacterium by either Ziehl-Neelsen stain or bacilloscopy could not be demonstrated in any of the patients.

Conclusions: we would like to draw attention to the changes we have observed in the characteristics of cases of leprosy seen in our department, the majority of which are imported. It is important to maintain a clinical suspicion of leprosy in cases of granulomatous dermatitis, particularly in patients from countries where the disease is endemic.

Publication types

  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Emigration and Immigration
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leprosy* / diagnosis
  • Leprosy* / drug therapy
  • Leprosy* / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Spain / epidemiology
  • Travel