The number of new cases of leprosy reported in Baia reached 1,413 last year. Only in Salvador there were 196 notifications, according to preliminary data available in DataSUS – the Information System of the Ministry of Health. To draw attention to one of the oldest human diseases but still burdened with prejudices, the last Sunday of January is considered for the "National Day for the Prevention and Prevention of Sickness".
Infectious-contagious disease, which causes lesions on the skin and nerves, has a cure and treatment can be achieved through the Unified Health Service (SUS). However, late diagnosis even affects the possibility of access to treatment. For the infectious scientist and professor of medicine at the FTC Antônio Bandeira, this is a critical moment when it comes to combating leprosy. "Most patients already have irreversible consequences when diagnosed. It is essential to inform healthcare professionals about the possibility of leprosy. Often, the disease is treated as an allergy, and when diagnosed, other members of the family are already infected, "explains the infectious scientist.
According to information from the Ministry of Health, Brazil is ranked second in the world by number of new cases of the disease, behind only India. In 2018, preliminary DataSUS data showed that 18,604 new cases were reported in the country. Leprosy, therefore, is still considered an important public health problem. In 2019, the national campaign has the slogan "Leprosy." He identified. He is being treated. Healed and aimed to reach the entire population, especially healthcare professionals. Recently there were lepers who were like cities where patients lived isolated from the rest of society. So, there are still prejudices, even by some healthcare professionals who often do not have targeted training to deal with the disease, "says FTC's infectious practitioner and professor Antônio Bandeira.
Early detection contributes to preventing the development of the disease, which has a serious potential to cause neuronal lesions capable of generating disability for certain activities and deformities in the body. Although transmission by contact appears to be more obvious due to skin lesions, the bacillus-causing leprosy is mainly transmitted to the respiratory tract and this causes the person to pass the disease through coughing and sneezing, for example. "When treated, patients wear surgical masks, but they do not have to isolate or separate clothes, utensils, towels," Bandeira reports.
Leprosy is called "leprosy," and getting the diagnosis of the disease is a gateway to the process of social exclusion. For centuries, those suffering from the effects caused by the action of Micobacterium leprae are considered to be cursed, which contributes to the prevention of real diagnosis. The lack of information that generates historical stigma even affects the actions to limit the disease that has affected – and still affects – mainly low-income people living in places where bacteria easily multiply. By 1986 there had been mandatory hospitalization of leprosy patients in "colonies" scattered all over the country. Only in 2007, by law 11,520, the persons who were subjected to the procedure were entitled to state compensation.
In Salvador, the former "leprosarium", located in the Cajazeiras neighborhood, was banned in 2013 and gave way to the new headquarters of Couto Maia Hospital, where protection and other infectious diseases have been treated since last year.