British Leprosy Relief Association
Leprosy – An imported disease
aDermatology Unit, Department of Medicine, University Malaya Medical Centre, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
bDepartment of Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Correspondence to: Zhenli Kwan, University Malaya Medical Centre, Lembah Pantai 59100, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (Tel: +60379494422; Fax: +60379562253; e-mail: email@example.com)
Leprosy remains a public health concern in Malaysia and globally. We aim to review the characteristics of leprosy patients in a tertiary institution in urban Malaysia.
This is a case series of 27 leprosy patients who presented between 2008 and 2013.
The majority of our patients consisted of male (74.1%), Malaysian (63.0%), blue collar workers (51.9%) and married (59.3%) patients; 48.1% had lepromatous leprosy. All except one of the patients presented with skin lesions, 25.9% had nerve involvement and 33.3% developed lepra reactions. Forty-four point four percent (44.4%) of the cases seen initially in the primary care setup were misdiagnosed.
Doctors need to have a high index of suspicion for leprosy when patients present with suggestive skin, nerve or musculoskeletal lesions. Immigrants accounted for 37% of cases and these patients may become a reservoir of infection, thus accounting for the rise in incidence. An increasing trend in multibacillary cases may be attributed to the spread from migrants from countries with a high burden of leprosy.