The capital has reported 22 confirmed cases of leprosy from eight of the 11 districts during the recently held Leprosy Case Detection Campaign (LCDC). In 2016, only five leprosy cases were confirmed from six districts.
The month-long detection campaign, which was held from November 10 to December 5, is part of the National Leprosy Eradication Programme (NLEP) of the Central government. It was conducted in 2016, but could not be done in 2017 as funds were not released on time. As per the NLEP, a total of 1.27 lakh new cases were detected across the country in 2015-16.
“Twenty-two fresh cases of leprosy were confirmed during the campaign. Of them, nine are female and 13 male. We want more people to come forward and visit a doctor if they see any symptoms. The disease is curable and not even a single death has been reported due to leprosy in the capital,” said Dr KS Baghotia, state leprosy officer, Delhi government.
The first noticeable sign of leprosy is the development of pale or pinkish patches on the skin, that may be sensitive to temperature or pain. This is sometimes accompanied or preceded by nerve problems, including numbness or tenderness in the hands or feet. Secondary infections, in turn, can result in tissue loss, causing fingers and toes to become shortened and deformed, as cartilage is absorbed into the body.
As many as 69,56,532 people were covered in the campaign across eight districts. A total of 3,533 teams, comprising a male and female worker, were sent to various households to check for hidden and undetected cases of leprosy.
The teams suspected 11,566 leprosy cases, which were then sent to doctors for further investigation.
The department is now planning to create a road map to spread awareness among people. “A special awareness drive will be conducted in January to inform people about the availability of medicines and make them aware of the disease. Early detection can prevent disability and deformity,” added Baghotia.
According to officials, 1,001 cases of leprosy have been reported from April to September in the city this year. Of these, 450 are from Delhi while the rest are from other states such as Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.