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Published On: Thu, Feb 20th, 2014

Leprosy in the Philippines remains stable over past decade, treatment is available for free

The latest data on global leprosy puts the number at 219,075 new cases in 2011. This continues a downward trend in the disfiguring bacterial disease since 2004 when the global total stood at 407,791, according to the World Health Organization’s  Global Leprosy Situation 2012 report.

Leprosy Image/CDC

Leprosy
Image/CDC

While more heavily affected countries like India and Brazil show a consistent downward trend in new leprosy cases detected since 2004, the Philippines, in the words of Dr. Luisa Venida, chairperson of the Philippine Dermatological Society (PDS) leprosy subspecialty core group at the Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center, remain in a plateau.

In 2011, the archipelago reported 1,818 new leprosy cases; however, since 2004, the number has changed very little ranging from 3,130 in 2005 to 1,795 in 2009.

Philippines news source, ABS-CBN reported Wednesday that in Metro Manila, around 300 to 400 new cases of leprosy were reported from 2011-2013 in 10 hospitals.

Dr. Rosalina Nadela, president of the PDS said treatment for leprosy in the Philippines is free and made available by the WHO. The treatment typically lasts from 6 months to one year.

The report specifies several hospitals and health centers that provide the free treatment: the East Avenue Medical Center in Quezon City, Jose Reyes Medical Center in Manila, Makati Medical Center, Ospital ng Maynila, RITM in Muntinlupa, Quirino Memorial Med Center, St. Luke’s Medical Center, Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao, UST Manila, UE Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center, and the Philippine General Hospital.

Some key facts about leprosy include:

  • Leprosy is a chronic disease caused by a slow multiplying bacillus,Mycobacterium leprae.
  • M. leprae multiplies slowly and the incubation period of the disease is about 5 years. Symptoms can take as long as 20 years to appear.
  • The disease mainly affects the skin, the peripheral nerves, mucosa of the upper respiratory tract and also the eyes.
  • Leprosy is curable.
  • Although not highly infectious, it is transmitted via droplets, from the nose and mouth, during close and frequent contacts with untreated cases.
  • Early diagnosis and treatment with multidrug therapy (MDT) remain key in eliminating the disease as a public health concern
  • Untreated, leprosy can cause progressive and permanent damage to the skin, nerves, limbs and eyes.
  • Official figures from 115 countries show the global registered prevalence of leprosy at 189,018 at the end of 2012 and during the same year, 232,857 new cases were reported.

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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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  1. Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center | index - locate a hospital says:

    […] Leprosy in the Philippines remains stable over past decade, treatment is available for free – Jose Reyes Medical Center in Manila, Makati Medical Center, Ospital ng Maynila, RITM in Muntinlupa, Quirino Memorial Med Center, St. Luke’s Medical Center, Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao, UST Manila, UE Ramon Magsaysay Memorial … […]

  2. Philippines: Pangasinan health officials say ‘mystery disease’ not ‘flesh-eating bacteria’ - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] physician found that one has long been afflicted with leprosy and the other one of a severe case of […]

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