WHO Weekly Epidemiological Record 14 Aug 2009
The main principles of leprosy control are the timely detection of new cases and prompt treatment with multidrug therapy (MDT). These principles are being widely implemented in all endemic countries, where MDT drugs are provided free of charge to all patients. Services for control of leprosy have been integrated into the primary health-care system at the peripheral level, and referral services are being strengthened to support integration. These referral centres will play a key role in providing specialized services for patients with complications as well as for prevention of disabilities and rehabilitation. Additional emphasis has been placed on sustaining the provision of high-quality care that is equitably distributed, affordable and easily accessible.
In 2009, a total of 121 countries or territories reported to WHO: 31 from the African Region, 25 from the Region of the Americas, 10 from the South-East Asia Region, 22 from the Eastern Mediterranean Region and 33 from the Western Pacific Region. Rates of prevalence were calculated based on mid-year population data for 2008 from the United Nations Population Division.
At the beginning of 2009, the registered prevalence of leprosy globally was 213 036. The number of new cases detected during the year 2008 as reported by 121 countries was 249 007 (Table 1).
Table 2 shows trends in new-case detection by region during the 2002-2008 period. Globally, the annual detection of new case continued to decline, from 620 638 cases in 2002 to 249 007 in 2008. The global new case detection declined by >9126 cases (3.54%) during 2008 compared with 2007 (based on reports from 126 countries).