EVERY YEAR, over 2 lakh new leprosy cases are detected around the world, with India accounting for more than half of these. World Leprosy Day, which focuses on the target of zero cases of leprosy-related disabilities in children, was observed globally on January 27 (the last Sunday of January) and will be observed in India on January 30 (M K Gandhi’s death anniversary). A look at the trends of the disease in the world and India, from data collated from the websites of the World Health Organization (WHO) and India’s National Leprosy Eradication Programme (NLEP):
* India accounts for 60% of new cases detected in 2017 — 1.26 lakh out of 2.10 lakh. The country’s numbers have consistently been more than half the world figures since 2008.
* New cases have declined gradually since 2008. However, they hit a sudden spike in 2012 and 2016. This was the trend for both India and globally.
* As of March 2018, Bihar had 14,338 cases of leprosy, followed by India’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, with 12,583 cases. Next were Maharashtra (9,836) and West Bengal (9,175).
* In terms of prevalence, the Union Territory of Dadra & Nagra Haveli topped the count, with its 202 cases (March 2018) representing 4.85 cases per 1 lakh population. Among the states, Chhattisgarh had the highest prevalence (2.25)
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