A newly published study shows that Morocco has almost eradicated leprosy.
Rabat – A study published yesterday in the medical journal PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases shows a 16 percent decline in leprosy cases every year since 2012.
The study was conducted by Morocco’s Ministry of Health, in collaboration with scientists at the Mohammed V University in Rabat.
Leprosy, a chronic infectious disease, was declared by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 1991 to no longer be a public health crisis in Morocco with less than one case per 10,000 habitants. According to the study, the global number of leprosy cases has decreased from 5.4 million in the early 1980s to 210,758 in 2015.
The study credits “rifampicin chemoprophylaxis,” a preventative single dose antibiotic implemented in 2012, for greatly aiding the further decline of leprosy in recent years.
The study shows that following the introduction of this antibiotic for those exposed to sufferers of leprosy, the detection rate decreased by 16 percent annually, a dramatic trend change. Between 2000 and 2012, leprosy cases decreased 4 percent annually.
However, the author summary in the study says, “Despite the decline in case detection of leprosy, incidence reduction to zero and suppression of infection source is still not possible.” The summary elaborates that “addressed strategies to high-risk groups–contacts of leprosy cases” are needed to eliminate the disease at a global level.