Effect of a change in treatment time on leprosy endemicity in Juiz de Fora, Brazil
We investigated the impact of the reduction of treatment time for leprosy in Juiz de Fora, Brazil, from 1996 to 2004, by examining 324 patients records. Although the time of treatment for multibacillary patients changed from 24 to 12 months, the prevalence of leprosy remained stable (~3 patients/10000 inhabitants). The incidence rate varied from 5.5 in period I (1996-1999) to 4.8 in period II (2000-2004). In both periods the multibacillary forms predominated, there being a slight reduction in cure rate (83 % to 79 %) and an increase in abandonment (6% to 11%). Interestingly, leprosy was more frequent in men in period I (62.2%), and it predominated in women in period II (55.6%), when the detection of new cases from health counseling was greater. The change in the time of treatment did not significantly alter the prevalence or incidence of leprosy which did, however, show new characteristics in the city.
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