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Rahul Chaurasiya*, Gaurav Dubey, Supriya Bhatane, Sanyukta Bhoir, Bharat Vidhate, Dattratray Vir


Leprosy is also known as Hansen’s disease, is a chronic infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprous, a microorganism has predilection for the skin and nerves. The disease is clinically characterized by one or more of the three cardinal signs Hypo pigmented or eythematous skin patches with definite loss of sensation, thickened peripheral nerves, and acid fast bacilli detected on skin smears or biopsy material. M.leprae primarily infects Schwann cells in the peripheral nerves system leading to nerve damage and the development of disabilities.[1] Leprosy is a disease with crippling consequences, not only on the effected person and family but also on the society as a whole. It was considered incurable before the introduction of multi –drug therapy, popularly known as MDT. Detecting new cases and monitoring disabilities caused by leprosy will be a challenge.[2] The state of Ceará ranks 13th in number of cases of leprosy in Brazil, and fourth in Northeastern region, with an average of 2,149 new cases diagnosed every year. This study aimed to evaluate the knowledge of leprosy patients regarding treatment, and to assess the level of treatment adherence and its possible barriers. The study was conducted in the reference center for dermatology, from September 2010 to October 2010, in Fortaleza, Ceará. The study data were collected by means of a structured interview, along with the Morisky-Green test, in order to assess treatment adherence and barriers to adherence. A total of 70 patients were interviewed, out of whom 66 were new cases. The majority of patients were between 42 and 50 years old, and 37 (52.9%) were male. Most patients were clinically classified as presenting multibacillary leprosy (80%), and 78.6% of them were from Fortaleza, Brazil. The Morisky- Green test indicated that 62.9% of patients presented a low level of adherence (p < 0.005), despite claiming to aware of the disease risks. However, it was observed that 57.1% of the patients had no difficulty adhering to treatment, while 38.6% reported little difficulty. This study shows that despite the patients claiming to be familiar with leprosy and its treatment, the Morisky-Green test clearly demonstrated that they actually were not aware of the principles of therapy, which is evidenced by the low degree of treatment adherence.[26]

Keywords: Leprosy.

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