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WHO Goodwill Ambassador's Newsletter For The Elimination Of Leprosy

NEWS: WHO Issues Annual Leprosy Update

Fourteen countries accounted for 96% of new leprosy cases in 2013.

Distribution of cases

In its annual roundup of the global leprosy situation, the WHO’s Weekly epidemiological record for September 5, 2014, revealed that 215,656 new cases of leprosy were reported in 2013, down from 232,857 in 2012.

Of the total, India contributed 126,913 cases, Brazil 31,044 cases and Indonesia 16,856 cases. Between them, these three countries made up 81% of all new cases of leprosy.

A further 11 countries reported a thousand or more new cases. They were: Ethiopia (4,374), DR Congo (3,744), Nigeria (3,385), Nepal (3,225), Bangladesh (3,141), Myanmar (2,950), Tanzania (2,005), Sri Lanka (1,990), Philippines (1,729), Madagascar (1,569) and Ivory Coast (1,169).

The top 14 reporting countries together accounted for 96% of total leprosy cases in 2013.

In an editorial note, the WER noted that new cases have plateaued in the range of 245,000 to 215,000 between 2009 and 2013, and that “greater and more focused attention to the problem by all stakeholders is warranted.”

It also stated that of new cases, 13,289 had Grade 2 disabilities, “which reflects low awareness about leprosy in the community and sub-optimal capacity of health systems to detect the disease early.” Furthermore, 9.2% of new cases were in children, indicating continuing transmission of the disease. The target envisaged by the current global strategy for leprosy 2011-2015, that of reducing the rate of Grade 2 disabilities in new cases to 35% of that in 2010, “does not yet seem to be within sight,” it said.



The Association of People Affected by Leprosy (APAL) has launched a new website. Formerly known as the National Forum India, APAL works for the socio-economic empowerment of people affected by leprosy in India, especially those living in self-settled leprosy colonies and leprosy homes.

To read more about APAL’s activities, its achievements to date and how it is giving a voice to people affected by leprosy in India, visit