10-year trend characterized by slow but steady decline.
In 2017, a total of 210,671 new leprosy cases were detected and reported to the WHO by 150 countries, as detailed in the annual global leprosy update published in the Weekly epidemiological record.* This represents a decrease of around 7,000 cases compared to 2016. At the end of the reporting year, 192,713 patients globally were recorded as being “on treatment.”
As in previous years, the WHO’s Southeast Asia Region accounted for the bulk of the global leprosy burden, with two countries, India and Indonesia, contributing 67.4% of new leprosy cases globally and 92.6% regionally. Brazil contributed 92.3% of new leprosy cases in the Americas Region. Together these three countries—India, Brazil and Indonesia—accounted for 80.2% of the new caseload globally in 2017.
Twenty-two countries are designated as global priorities. Except for South Sudan, which did not report data, these countries reported 95% of all new cases. While there was an overall reduction in the number of new cases detected in global priority countries compared to 2016, increases in the number of new cases were observed in seven countries: Bangladesh, Brazil, Comoros, Mozambique, Nepal, the Philippines and Sri Lanka.
The 10-year trend between 2008 and 2017 is characterized by a slow but steady decrease in the number of new cases detected globally, down from 249,007 in 2008.
*Since the global leprosy update was published on 31 August, the WHO has now received reports from 159 countries and territories—the highest number ever—and adjusted the total of new cases detected in 2017 to 210,942.
The Global Partnership for Zero Leprosy is launching an Operational Excellence Working Group. Anyone working in leprosy or affected by leprosy is invited to apply to join the working group, which is to foster the development, use, scale-up, monitoring and evaluation of best practices and promising innovations in national leprosy programs. Applications are accepted through 31 December 2018.
For more information, visit zeroleprosy.org