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Leprosy cases fell by 37% in 2020 due to Covid-19

Geneva, Jan 27 (Prensa Latina) Leprosy cases dropped by 37% in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, as published Thursday by the World Health Organization (WHO) on in its Weekly Epidemiological Record magazine.

As many as 127,396 people caught the disease, 202,185 less than a year earlier, according to the document ahead of the International Leprosy Day.

The fall is not a consequence of lower incidence but a reduction or pause of leprosy detection programs caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, the WHO explained.

WHO warned that “pause may lead to hidden cases and a likely increase in associated disabilities.”

Resuming routine diagnosis will result in increasing a number of unreported people in 2020 and 2021, the technical committee of the International Federation of Anti-leprosy Associations (ILEP).

In the Americas, more than 20 nations have reported leprosy cases, some with more than 100 per year, while Brazil has most of those registered in the entire region.

Leprosy is caused by the Mycobacterium leprae bacterium, also known as Hansen’s bacillus, which multiplies too slowly and its average incubation time is five years.