The last few months of pandemic and lockdown have been a strange experience for all of us, and we hope that all our readers have remained safe and well. While most routine leprosy work has continued, many field initiatives, in particular active case-finding and contact examination, will have been suspended for the time being, in line with the WHO/ILEP/GPZL recommendations, which are republished in this issue.
The coronavirus pandemic delayed the development of our new website, but this is now live, and we hope it will be easier for people to access, especially from mobile devices. Feedback is welcome via firstname.lastname@example.org
This issue opens with an important Editorial by Prof. Roderick Hay about the use of antibiotics and anti-fungal drugs in the treatment of ulcers in leprosy. Papers from India and Sudan illustrate the range of organisms that can be cultured from these wounds. Greater access to detailed information about secondary infection, including patterns of antibiotic resistance, will be helpful to clinicians, but whether these drugs are needed in a specific case remains a difficult decision.
Dr Anil Kumar writes about recent operational interventions in the leprosy program in India (NLEP), and we would welcome follow-up papers which examine the effects and outcomes of these important initiatives. This is followed by three qualitative studies, from Nepal, Indonesia and India, which look at women’s empowerment in self-help groups, the value of a long-term approach to health education in the community, and the attitudes of different religious traditions towards leprosy, respectively.
Leprosy is a very diverse disease, and the four case reports in this issue all illustrate unusual or rare complications. In three of them, histopathology played a crucial role in making the correct diagnosis, illustrating the importance of this service for leprosy control programs.