Global Leprosy Programme

Epidemiology

Epidemiological situation, burden and distribution

Official reports on leprosy for the year 2016 were received from 143 countries from all WHO Regions. The prevalence was registered as 0.23 per 10 000 population with 171 948 leprosy cases on treatment at the end of 2016. During the year 214 783 new cases (2.9 per 100 000 population) were reported globally. Of them 12 437 (6%) presented with visible deformities or grade-2 disabilities (G2D), including 281 children with G2D. 60% of the global new cases were multibacillary and 39% of the new patients were female. The 22 global priority countries accounted for 96% of the global burden. High endemic pockets were reported from other countries also.

Geographical distribution of new leprosy cases 2016

The overall new case detection trends globally indicate an increase in detection of new cases: from 211 973 in 2015 to 214 783 in 2016. The increase is mainly attributed to active case finding approaches being adopted by national programmes and improved data collection process. The trends in new case detection (by WHO region) as well as the global new case detection rate are presented below.

The trends in new case detection (by WHO region) as well as the global new case detection rate

In 2016, DHIS2 was used to collect information on epidemiological situation of leprosy and on multidrug therapy (MDT) requirements from countries. Information on retreatment cases and anti-microbial resistance surveillance in leprosy was added to the routinely collected annual leprosy statistics.