Leprosy update from Salum

The hand of one of the newly diagnosed patients showing finger damage due to loss of sensation in the skin at the finger.

Salum our shoemaker has sent us the latest update regarding leprosy.

“Over the past three months the outreach team detected three new cases of leprosy in the villages of Nyamwage, Jaribu and Ngorongo. All three cases presented symptoms that showed us the patients had multibacillary leprosy,” he says.

All of the villages are in about a 60-mile radius of Utete, the main town in the regions. However the roads mean it can take many hourse at a time to get to each village, so we are very pleased we can make these trips to different communities throughout the Rufiji District.

You may recall from previous updates, there are two main types of the disease; paucibacillary and multibacillary Leprosy. Diagnosis is actually based on the number of poorly pigmented, numb skin patches identified by the doctor or specialist.

In very simple terms, if there are more than five patches then a diagnosis of multibacillary leprosy is given and it requires a specific type of treatment.

“The three patients identified were all adult men and sadly they did not present until they had signs of disability as a result of loss of sensation in the affected areas   Despite the vast reductions in the number of cases globally and increasing awareness about the causes of leprosy, social stigma is still highly associated with the disease and continues to be a barrier to self-reporting and early treatment,” writes Salum.

“Perhaps the reason these three patients failed to come forward earlier was because of the concern that they would be rejected from their communities, lose their jobs, or even their families, if they did so. The good news is that all three patients are getting the treatment they need to recover from this infection.”