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Leprosy Spreading in India, WHO Official Warns

“Six years after leprosy was declared officially eliminated in India, officials and doctors are warning that the disfiguring disease is spreading in poverty-stricken pockets of the country,” Agence France-Presse reports. According to Nata Menabde, head of the WHO in India, the number of new cases of leprosy exceeds the agency’s target of less than 10 new cases per 100,000 in about 209 out of 640 districts in the country, the news agency notes.

“India is the biggest contributor to the global burden with 120,000 new cases per year” and almost one-third of India’s districts need “urgent attention to address the spread of new infections,” Menabde told AFP. “Ten percent of the new cases occurring in India involve children,” according to Menabde, which she said “shows that the transmission rate is very high,” AFP notes (Kannampilly, 8/6).