Revista Brasileira de Epidemiologia
Print version ISSN 1415-790X
CORTELA, Denise da Costa Boamorte and IGNOTTI, Eliane. Visible lesions in leprosy: the role of dentists in the identification of new cases. Rev. bras. epidemiol. [online]. 2008, vol.11, n.4, pp.619-632. ISSN 1415-790X. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1415-790X2008000400010.
INTRODUCTION: Leprosy remains a public health problem in some countries and in Brazil it demands health actions focused on some states and municipalities OBJECTIVE: To analyze the epidemiologic characteristics of leprosy cases with emphasis on the site of skin lesions. METHODS: Cross-sectional study of clinical records of leprosy cases diagnosed during 2001 to 2006 in the municipality of Cáceres-MT. The dependent variable was categorized in visible and not-visible areas including face, pinna, and upper limbs. The analysis was made using ANOVA and logistic regression with a 95% confidence interval. RESULTS: 206 individuals (33.8%) presented visible lesions. The probability of a multibacillary patient presenting a visible lesion was three times greater than that observed among paucibacilary patients, regardless of gender and age group (OR = 3.21; IC 95%: 2.13 - 4.86). Among multibacillary cases with physical disability located in the ocular region and upper limbs, this probability was five times greater than that observed among those with disability located in another regions of the body (ORajust = 5.10; CI 95%: 1.41 - 18.39) CONCLUSION: The likelihood of a Hansen's disease patient presenting lesions in visible areas is independent from gender and age, and they occur mainly in arms. However, among the multibacilary individuals such probability is greater than the one observed among paucibacillary individuals, especially when there is a physical disability located in the ocular region and in the upper limbs.
Keywords : Leprosy; Oral Health; Public Health Dentistry; Epidemiology; Disease Prevention; Health Care.