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Socio-Demographic and Environmental Correlates of Leprosy: A hospital based cases control study

Author:Devang A Jariwala, Bharat H Patel, Naresh R Godara, S L Kantharia

Keywords:Leprosy, Case-control study, Environmental factors, Socio-demographic factors

Type:Original Article

Abstract:Introduction: Worldwide, India alone contributes approximately 50% of Leprosy cases. The Natural history of Leprosy has still many gaps about causation of Leprosy. There are very few studies focusing on all possible factors that might be associated with Leprosy. Materials and Methodology: Hospital based case-control study was carried out in Outpatient department. Interviews of 76 cases of Leprosy and 152 Age and Sex matched Non-Leprosy Controls were taken exploring Demographic, Socio-Economic, Environmental and Behavioural factors to elucidate association with Le-prosy. Results: In Univariate analysis, Residing in Rural and Urban-slum area, lower education, low per capita monthly income, Ex-tended family, unsafe water for domestic purpose, presence of animals in house/yard, unhygienic habit of sewage disposal, frequent bathing in open water bodies, working barefooted were associated with Leprosy. Presence of BCG scar was found to reduce the risk of Leprosy. In the final model of Binary Logistic Regression analysis, presence of BCG scar and higher per capita monthly income were found to be protective for Leprosy whereas family history of Leprosy and frequent bathing in open water bodies were found to be risk factors for Leprosy. Conclusion: BCG vaccine might provide some degree of protec-tion against Leprosy. Protective effect of higher per capita income emphasizes that economic development itself will help us to reduce the burden of Leprosy. Association of Frequent bathing in open water bodies with Leprosy might indicate the role of environmental factors in transmission of Leprosy.