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Published On: Thu, Aug 8th, 2013

Ireland reports second case of leprosy

For the second time in the first 31 weeks of 2013, the Health Protection Surveillance Centre in Ireland has reported a case of the disfiguring, bacterial disease, leprosy.

Image/CIA

Image/CIA

According to the website, irishhealth.com, it is believed to be the first time in many decades that a case of the disease has been officially reported in the 26 counties.

The first case was reported earlier in the year in a man in his thirties residing in the north-east of the country. He originally from South America and had been working in Ireland for a number of years.

The most recent case, reported in June, was also from the north-east of the country, although health authorities say the cases are unrelated.

Irishhealth.com reports the latest case was also a foreign national who contracted the infection in another country.

The health news source reports  it is not know when the last indigenously acquired leprosy case was reported in Ireland. The last such case in the UK was in 1954, and prior to that, in 1925.

Some key facts about leprosy include (from the World Health Organization):

  • Leprosy is a chronic disease caused by a bacillus, Mycobacterium leprae.
  • Official figures show that almost 182 000 people, mainly in Asia and Africa, were affected at the beginning of 2012, with approximately 219 000 new cases reported during 2011.
  • M. leprae multiplies very slowly and the incubation period of the disease is about five years. Symptoms can take as long as 20 years to appear.
  • Leprosy is not highly infectious. It is transmitted via droplets, from the nose and mouth, during close and frequent contacts with untreated cases.
  • Untreated, leprosy can cause progressive and permanent damage to the skin, nerves, limbs and eyes.
  • Early diagnosis and treatment with multidrug therapy (MDT) remain the key elements in eliminating the disease as a public health concern.

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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