A recent report by the Federal Health Ministry of Mexico revealed that three hundred individuals across twenty-eight states are currently undergoing treatment for leprosy, scientifically known as Hansen's Disease. The report firmly underscored the necessity of focused interventions in high-risk regions to break the chain of transmission and curbing the proliferation of the disease in the country.
The epidemiological report published by the Health Ministry pointed out that leprosy cases have been identified in almost all Mexican states, except for Tlaxcala, Baja California, Chiapas and Sonora. Highlighted in the report are twelve municipalities spanning seven states, where an unsettling concentration of leprosy cases has emerged. These locales, with a prevalence surpassing one case per 10,000 residents, have been recognized as "priority municipalities for leprosy”.
The affected regions include various regional pockets throughout the country including Tuxcacuesco, San Sebastián del Oeste and San Cristóbal de la Barranca in Jalisco; Nocupétaro and Nuevo Urecho in Michoacán; Tlaltizapan in Morelos; Lampazos in Nuevo León; El Espinal, Santiago Niltepec, and San Miguel Chimalapa in Oaxaca; Choix in Sinaloa and Tunkas in Yucatán.
Leprosy, a contagious infection, is caused by slow-growing bacteria called Mycobacterium leprae. Out of the 300 reported cases, 234 were classified as multibacillary leprosy, wherein patients exhibited several skin lesions. The remaining 66 cases were categorized as paucibacillary leprosy, characterized by just a few lesions.
Manifestations of the disease can emerge at any age, predominantly affecting the skin, peripheral nerves, mucosal surfaces of the upper respiratory tract and the eyes. In the year 2020, Mexico recorded a combined total of 89 leprosy cases, encompassing 18 states. Of particular significance, Sinaloa and Michoacán stood out as the states with the highest prevalence, documenting 32 and 15 cases respectively.
Health authorities Fátima Luna and Patricia Guadarrama have underscored the challenge of timely diagnosis in Mexico, which has led to its widespread transmission throughout the country. The delay in diagnosis can contribute to the ongoing spread of the disease, particularly among individuals residing in close proximity.
In observance of World Leprosy Day, a global event marked on the final Sunday of January, UN Mexico has highlighted its mission to enhance disease awareness and diminish the stigma surrounding its afflicted individuals.