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Leprosy in New Zealand: an epidemiological update

Abstract

Aim: To examine the current epidemiological trends of leprosy in New Zealand and raise awareness of this disease in the health professional community. Method: Epidemiological data of leprosy, a notifiable disease in New Zealand, was accessed for the 10 year time period 2004 to 2013. Using an illustrative case as an introduction, all 38 case reports from the study period are summarised. Results: Most cases of leprosy in New Zealand notified during the study period are immigrants from countries with endemic leprosy, reflecting the origin of disease. Delay to diagnosis is common. Conclusion: Leprosy remains a clinical problem in New Zealand. Cases are more likely to arise in geographical areas with higher numbers of immigrants from endemic countries.

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