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Retrospective active case finding in Cambodia: an innovative approach to leprosy control in a low-endemic country

Fürst, Thomas and Cavaliero, Arielle and Lay, Sambath and Dayer, Chrystel and Chan, Saren and Smrekar, Ajda and So, Visal and Barth-Jaeggi, Tanja and Steinmann, Peter. (2017) Retrospective active case finding in Cambodia: an innovative approach to leprosy control in a low-endemic country. Acta Tropica, 180. pp. 26-32.

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Abstract

Currently, leprosy control relies on the clinical diagnosis of leprosy and the subsequent administration of multidrug therapy (MDT). However, many health workers are not familiar with the cardinal signs of leprosy, particularly in low-endemic settings including Cambodia. In response, a new approach to early diagnosis was developed in the country, namely retrospective active case finding (RACF) through small mobile teams. In the frame of RACF, previously diagnosed leprosy patients are traced and their contacts screened through "drives". According to the available records, 984 of the 1,463 (67.3%) index patients diagnosed between 2001 and 2010 and registered in the national leprosy database were successfully traced in the period 2012-2015. Migration (8.4%), death (6.7%), operational issues (1.6%) and unidentified other issues (16.0%) were the main reasons for non-traceability. A total of 17,134 contacts of traced index patients (average: 2.2 household members and 15.2 neighbors) and another 7,469 contacts of the untraced index patients could be screened. Among them, 264 new leprosy patients were diagnosed. In the same period, 1,097 patients were diagnosed through the routine passive case detection system. No change was observed in the relation between the rate at which new patients were identified and the number of years since the diagnosis of the index patient. Similar to leprosy patients diagnosed through passive case detection, the leprosy patients detected through RACF were predominantly adult males. However, the fraction of PB leprosy patients was higher among the patients diagnosed through RACF, suggesting relatively earlier diagnosis. It appears that RACF is a feasible option and effective in detecting new leprosy patients among contacts of previously registered patients. However, a well-maintained national leprosy database is essential for successful contact tracing. Hence, passive case detection in the frame of routine leprosy surveillance is a precondition for efficient RACF as the two systems are mutually enhancing. Together, the two approaches may offer an interesting option for countries with low numbers of leprosy patients but evidence of ongoing transmission. The impact on leprosy transmission could be further increased by the administration of single dose rifampicin as post-exposure prophylaxis to eligible contacts.
Faculties and Departments:09 Associated Institutions > Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH)
09 Associated Institutions > Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) > Department of Epidemiology and Public Health (EPH) > Household Economics and Health Systems Research > Health Systems and Policy (Tediosi)
09 Associated Institutions > Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) > Department of Swiss Centre for International Health (SCIH) > Health Systems Support (Prytherch)
UniBasel Contributors:Fürst, Thomas
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0001-706X
e-ISSN:1873-6254
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
Language:English
Identification Number:
Last Modified:09 Apr 2019 15:06
Deposited On:02 Feb 2018 13:26

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