Leprosy surges in India

Leprosy it seems is making a come back at least in some parts of India.

Leprosy may have left the public discourse but it is still prevalent in India: in six months from April to September 2016, 79,000 leprosy cases were detected, according toNational Health Profile, 2017.

Leprosy is a slow progressive disease that damages the skin and the nervous system.Caused due to infection by Mycobacterium leprae, it leads to skin lesions, disfigurement and loss of sensation in limbs

Uttar Pradesh had the most number of cases (13,423) but it was the union territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli that has the highest prevalence of 7.93 per 10,000, which means nearly 8 people in 10,000 have leprosy.

As per WHO , leprosy can be considered eliminated as a public health problem if it’s prevalence is below one per 10000 population.  India as a country has achieved that but several states still have high prevalence. Now it seems the incidence is also increasing.

India had eliminated leprosy in 2005, with prevalence rate of less than 1 per 10,000, but it still had 60% of world’s leprosy burden in 2015. It currently has a prevalence rate of 0.81 per 10,000.

Bihar (1.3), Chhattisgarh (3.54), Goa (1.1), Jharkhand (1.23), West Bengal (1.13), Odisha (1.9), Chandigarh (1.25), Delhi (1.26) and Dadra Nagar Haveli (7.93) have higher than 1 case per 10,000 showing that the disease has not been eliminated from all states.

Being one of the country with lowest government spending on health this comeback of Leprosy is not surprising for India.


  1. Raucous Indignation says

    Yes, 0.81 per 10,000 is technically less than 1/10,000, but it’s be very easy to round up to 1/10,000. Is MDT widely available?

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