Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública
Print version ISSN 1020-4989
LOMBARDI, Clovis; MARTOLLI, Celina M. T.; SILVA, Simonne Almeida e and SUAREZ, Reinaldo E. Gil. La eliminación de la lepra de las Américas: situación actual y perspectivas. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 1998, vol.4, n.3 ISSN 1020-4989. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1020-49891998000900001.
Leprosy, a disease that used to be shrouded in darkness and fear, can now be cured thanks to a multidrug treatment schedule with rifampicin, clofazimine, and dapsone which has been in use since 1981. In 1991 the World Health Assembly, enouraged by the efficacy of this treatment regimen, established the goal of eliminating the disease as a public health problem globally and nationally by the year 2000. This goal, which calls for reducing disease prevalence to less than one case per 10 000 inhabitants, should not be confused with the goal of eradicating the disease, which implies a complete interruption of its transmission. Eliminating leprosy is an attainable goal which will depend on the forceful and massive use of the multidrug treatment regimen. This paper describes and discusses the various initiatives that have been launched in Latin America for the purpose of achieving this goal and the results obtained so far. It also explores the factors that impact on the feasibility of eradicating the disease.