Home Headlines Municipality in Yucatán flagged for incidence in cases of leprosy

Municipality in Yucatán flagged for incidence in cases of leprosy

by Sofia Navarro
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While leprosy is no longer a major concern for Mexican health authorities due to its reduced incidence over the last three decades, there are still areas of special concern due to the potential for outbreaks. Despite the decline in cases, some localities remain under watch.

Historical data from the federal Ministry of Health reveals that in the early 1990s, Mexico reported around 17,000 cases of leprosy annually. This number significantly decreased to less than 2,000 cases per year by the mid-1990s. Twenty years later, records dropped to under 400 cases annually.

Leprosy is a chronic infectious disease caused by bacteria that primarily affects the skin, eyes, nose, and peripheral nerves. Symptoms include clear or red skin lesions, reduced sensitivity, and numbness in the hands and feet, potentially leading to permanent disability if not treated properly.

Leprosy bacteria are primarily transmitted through nasal secretions and the saliva of an infected person, usually through close and prolonged contact with an untreated individual who has the disease.

Due to its mention in biblical texts and its association with divine punishment, leprosy carries a stigma within Mexican society. Presently, 28 states in Mexico have patients undergoing treatment. Seven states have 12 municipalities with a prevalence rate of more than one case per 10,000 inhabitants, making them stand out among other regions in the country.

Among the “Priority Municipalities for Leprosy,” named for their risk of resurgence, are Tunkás, Yucatán; Tuxcacuesco, San Sebastián del Oeste, and San Cristóbal de la Barranca, Jalisco; Nocupétaro and Nuevo Urecho, Michoacán; Tlaltizapan, Morelos; Lampazos, Nuevo León; El Espinal, Santiago Niltepec, and San Miguel Chimalapa, Oaxaca; and Choix, Sinaloa.

The National Epidemiological Bulletin reported 128 leprosy cases across Mexico in 2022. Sinaloa was the most affected state, with 25 positive diagnoses last year.

Within the national count, two cases are attributed to Yucatán, accounting for 1.56% of new leprosy cases. However, this is not an isolated occurrence, as records indicate that at least 15 individuals have been diagnosed with leprosy in Yucatán since 2014, when the Ministry of Health began transparently reporting positive results for this disease.

Of the Yucatán patients diagnosed with leprosy in recent years, ten are male and seven are female.

In 2023, a total of 69 leprosy cases have been reported nationally, with no cases attributed to Yucatán this time.

TYT Newsroom

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