Prevalence and Correlates of Leprosy in a High-Risk Community Setting in Sri Lanka

Asia Pac J Public Health. 2016 Oct;28(7):586-591. doi: 10.1177/1010539516666360. Epub 2016 Sep 24.


Leprosy is caused by the Mycobacterium leprae bacillus. Pockets of high endemicity remain in a number of countries including Sri Lanka, in spite of the fact that elimination has been achieved at the national level. In 2012, in a village in the Puttlam district, dermatologists reported an increase in individuals with leprosy. This village had been established in the 1990s for people displaced from Northern Sri Lanka during a civil war. A comprehensive household survey was conducted by district health officials from June to July 2012, and all household members present during the survey period were examined for leprosy lesions. Patients with suspected leprosy were referred to a dermatology clinic for clinical or pathological confirmation. The prevalence of leprosy was high (511 per 10 000 population). Household contact with another patient with leprosy increased the risk of leprosy (odds ratio = 6.69; P < .001). Continued vigilance is needed to keep leprosy at bay in high-risk communities.

Keywords: Sri Lanka; high-risk community; household survey; leprosy; risk factors.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Leprosy / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Residence Characteristics / statistics & numerical data*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Sri Lanka / epidemiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult