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Saturday, August 6, 2011
WHO warns leprosy spreading in India!
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August 6, 2011 / AFP, New Delhi / DC.
A man suffering from leprosy, is reflected in a mirror as he is examined by a doctor from the Bombay Leprosy Project (BLP) in Chincvali village, some 100 kms from Mumbai - AFP.
Six years after leprosy was declared officially eliminated in India, officials and doctors are warning that the disfiguring disease is spreading in poverty-stricken pockets of the country.
The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) in India, Nata Menabde, told AFP in an interview that nearly a third of India's districts needed urgent attention to address the spread of new infections.
"There are about 209 out of 640 districts where the number of new cases exceeds the WHO target of less than 10 new cases per 100,000," she said.
"India is the biggest contributor to the global burden with 120,000 new cases per year," she added.
Leprosy, an ancient disease which causes lesions on the skin and attacks nerves in the hands and feet, resulting in disability, was declared officially eliminated in India in 2005 according to WHO guidelines on prevalence rates.
The WHO allows governments to declare that leprosy is no longer a public health risk if the prevalence rate falls below one case per 10,000 people.
Ten percent of the new cases occurring in India involve children, the WHO's Menabde said.