Roche, P., Zweck, N., and Couzos, S. (2008) Leprosy. In: Couzos, Sophia, and Murray, Richard, (eds.) Aboriginal Primary Health Care: an evidence-based approach. Oxford University Press, South Melbourne, VIC, Australia, pp. 732-754.

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Leprosy (also known as Hansen's disease) has been endemic in tropical Australia for around 100 years, and Aboriginal peoples continue to be affected by this disease. Although numbers are small, new cases of leprosy are reported every year. Early diagnosis of new cases is vital, as is ensuring completion of treatment courses to affect bacteriological cure; monitoring patients on treatment for new nerve function impairment (NFI); and prevention of deterioration in previously treated cases with residual nerve impairment.

Early diagnosis and treatment with World Health Organization (WHO) multi-drug therapy (MDT) rapidly interrupts transmission, and lessens the likelihood of nerve function impairment and disability. MDT has also shortened treatment durations and reduced relapses of disease. At the time a health worker directly observes the monthly dose of MDT, monitoring of NFI using a brief, standardised voluntary muscle and sensory test (VMT-ST) is also periormed. NFI can occur silently or with symptoms of leprosy reactions, but if detected early ;s reversible with anti-inflammatory treatment such as prednisolone. BCG vaccine, which is used extensively for the prevention of tuberculosis, may also induce protective immunity against leprosy. The eradication of leprosy among Aboriginal peoples in Australia may be enhanced by the use of a single dose chemoprophylaxis in close contacts of new cases.

Item ID: 34144
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
ISBN: 978-0-19-555138-9
Date Deposited: 12 Nov 2014 04:56
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111717 Primary Health Care @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9203 Indigenous Health > 920399 Indigenous Health not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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