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At the beginning of 2010, the registered prevalence of leprosy in the world was 211,903 cases, and 244,796 new cases were detected during 2009, as reported by 141 countries (World Health Organization [WHO]).
Since the 1980s, when WHO initiated its Leprosy Elimination Project, more than 14 million cases have been cured. However, the number of new cases being detected annually is raising the unanswered questions about the infection source, transmission, and incubation period of leprosy. In other words, why are so many new cases detected in the midst of such a dramatic drop in the numbers of people living with the disease? This may be attributed to a number of factors including intensified efforts in case detection, and/or high transmission of the disease in certain areas.
Today, leprosy is found mainly in Angola, Brazil, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, India, Madagascar, Mozambique, Nepal, and the United Republic of Tanzania. These countries account for 75 percent of the global leprosy burden, and they are taking steps to control the disease through information campaigns and by providing diagnostic and treatment services to all communities, including the poor and underserved, and by incorporating leprosy diagnosis and treatment into general health services.
Leprosy Today from the World Health Organization
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Last Updated February 08, 2011