Leprosy has a history that has spanned centuries and societies across the globe. Yet, it continues to be a problem — even in the modern era. Sufferers from the chronic and infectious skin disease still face the social stigma and lack of medical care that people have endured since the origins of the disease itself. Although leprosy can be treated, the World Health Organization reported 216,108 cases in 2016, with some of these patients seeking treatment at Mayo Clinic’s Rochester campus.
Looking at risk factors and demographic information of sufferers, researchers discuss local case studies of leprosy in the upcoming issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
Using an electronic health record database, researchers identified nine patients with leprosy who were evaluated and treated at Mayo Clinic from 1994 to 2017. Demographic information was obtained on these patients, including age, gender, country of origin, travel history and skin biopsy results. Seven patients were men, and two were women. Their ages ranged from 15 to 63. Six patients had emigrated from foreign countries — Guam, Indonesia, Mexico and Micronesia — and three patients were born in the U.S. All of the patients had skin lesions of leprosy that involved their trunk, upper and lower extremities, and/or head and neck. Many of the patients also had neurological symptoms, including a reduced sense of touch.
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