Leprosy neuropathy: clinical presentations

Arq Neuropsiquiatr. 2013 Sep;71(9B):661-6. doi: 10.1590/0004-282X20130146.

Abstract

Leprosy is a chronic infectious peripheral neuropathy caused by Mycobacterium leprae. The different clinical presentations of the disease are determined by the quality of the host immune response. Early detection of leprosy and treatment by multidrug therapy are the most important steps in preventing deformity and disability. Thus the early recognition of the clinical leprosy presentation is essential. Mononeuritis, mononeuritis multiplex (MM), polyneuritis (MM summation) are the most frequent. The frequent anesthetic skin lesions are absent in the pure neuritic leprosy presentation form. Isolated peripheral nerve involvement is common, including the cranial ones. Arthritic presentation is occasionally seen, usually misdiagnosed as rheumatoid arthritis. Attention should be given to autonomic dysfunctions in leprosy. There are clinical presentations with severe neuropathic pain - painful small-fiber neuropathy. Leprous late-onset neuropathy (LLON) clinical presentation should be considered facing a patient who develop an inflammatory neuropathy many years after a previous skin leprosy treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Leprosy* / diagnosis
  • Leprosy* / physiopathology
  • Peripheral Nerves / physiopathology
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases* / diagnosis
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases* / physiopathology