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Leprosy in Britain: 50 years experience in Liverpool

Gill, A. L., Bell, D. R., Gill, Geoff, Wyatt, G.B and Beeching, Nicholas ORCID: (2005) 'Leprosy in Britain: 50 years experience in Liverpool'. Qjm-an International Journal of Medicine, Vol 97, Issue 7, pp. 505-511.

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Background: Leprosy is a chronic infection that presents with varying dermal and neurological symptoms, and which can lead to extensive disability and morbidity, often with accompanying social stigma.
Aim: To review the patients presenting to the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) between 1946 and 2003, looking specifically at country of birth and of infection, details of clinical presentation, diagnosis, management and reactions.
Design: Retrospective record review.
Methods: We retrieved all available clinical records for patients seen between 1946 and 2003 (n = 50), consisting of letters, hospital and LSTM casenotes, and some radiographs and photographs. Any history of tuberculosis or diabetes was recorded.
Results: Most patients (64%) were born in the Indian subcontinent, and most were thought to have contracted the disease there (62%). Features at presentation included anaesthetic skin lesions in 19 (36%), hypopigmentation in 15 (30%), and peripheral nerve enlargement in 25 (50%). Diagnoses were made by a combination of clinical data and biopsy (60%), and slit skin smears were positive for acid-fast bacilli in 61% of multibacillary patients. Initial presentation was with a leprosy reaction in five cases (10%), and reactions were documented in 42% of all patients. Treatments were varied, progressing from traditional Eastern medicine to the WHO-approved multidrug therapy in use today, with prophylaxis for children and close contacts.
Discussion: Leprosy remains an important diagnosis to consider in patients with a history of work or travel in the tropics, and is a diagnosis with far-reaching medical, social and emotional consequences.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: WC Communicable Diseases > Infection. Bacterial Infections > Other Bacterial Infections. Zoonotic Bacterial Infections > WC 335 Leprosy
Faculty: Department: Groups (2002 - 2012) > Clinical Group
Digital Object Identifer (DOI):
Depositing User: Ms Julia Martin
Date Deposited: 16 Dec 2011 16:47
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2019 06:26


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