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How can you find information on leprosy patients?

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Personal medical records are not available to the public, but the World Health Organization offers statistics on how many leprosy patients are diagnosed each year and in what part of the world they reside. The first mention of leprosy was in 600 B.C., and even though the fear of epidemic has been all but wiped out, there are still cases prevalent as of 2015.

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Leprosy is caused by a slow-growing bacteria with an incubation period of around 5 years. The symptoms of the disease are often not seen for up to 20 years in patients, making the disease very hard to diagnose.

Leprosy affects the skin, eyes, mucosa of the upper respiratory tract and the peripheral nerves. The disease is not highly contagious, but it can be spread with contact. While it is curable, if left untreated it leads to permanent damage to the skin, nerves, eyes and limbs.

According to the World Health Organization, official reports from 115 countries show 189,018 cases of the disease at the end of 2012 and 232,857 new cases reported globally that same year, compared to 226,626 new cases reported the previous year.

The reports determined that 95 percent of the new cases were limited to 16 countries, with only 5 percent reported from other countries in the world. The countries, as of a 2012 report that still displayed high diagnosis rates of leprosy patients, included South Sudan, India, Madagascar, Nepal, Nigeria, Angola, Bangladesh, United Republic of Tanzania, Sri Lanka, Mozambique, China, Brazil, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Democratic Republic of Congo and the Philippines.

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