British Leprosy Relief Association
Childhood leprosy: A retrospective descriptive study from Government Medical College, Kozhikode, Kerala, India
MariyathOlasseri Kalathingal Reenaa
SherjeenaPentam Veli Beeguma
aGovernment Medical College, Kozhikode, Kerala, India
Correspondence to: Sarita Sasidharanpillai, Assistant Professor, Department of Dermatology, Government Medical College, Kozhikode, Kerala, India (e-mail: email@example.com)
To assess the profile and describe the clinical presentations and complications of childhood leprosy in a tertiary care hospital in North Kerala, South India during 2003–2012 and to analyse any change in the age-sex profile and the clinical pattern of leprosy in children below the age of 15 years over the 10-year study period.
A retrospective descriptive study of children less than 15 years of age diagnosed with leprosy and registered for treatment in a tertiary care institution from 2003 to 2012. Demographic, clinical, investigative and treatment data were collected using a pre-set proforma.
138 (12.1%) of the total 1143 leprosy cases registered for treatment during the 10-year period were below 15 years of age. The 10-year study period witnessed a statistically insignificant decrease in the new childhood leprosy cases registered for treatment in our tertiary care institution. The majority of cases belonged to the 6–12 year age group (61.6%) with a male predominance. Borderline tuberculoid (BT) was the commonest clinical type (65.9%) followed by indeterminate leprosy (18.8%); 101 patients required paucibacillary (PB) and 37 needed multibacillary (MB) treatment. The number of patients requiring MB treatment showed a statistically significant increase and there was a significant decline in number of cases requiring PB treatment. During the entire study period no Type 2 lepra reaction was documented in patients below Hema 15 years and only two patients manifested Type 1 reaction. Ten (7.2%) out of the 138 patients were cases of relapse. There was a clear female predilection among relapse cases with the majority belonging to the adolescent age.
Childhood leprosy still contributes to a significant proportion of the total case load denoting the continuing active horizontal transmission of leprosy. The rise in number of patients with more extensive disease in the background of declining disease prevalence is suggestive of the delay in diagnosis and treatment. A high relapse rate noted in the present study may be due to incorrect classification and treatment of MB as PB leprosy which in turn might have resulted in treatment failure due to inadequate treatment.