Original Research

Trends in leprosy case detection in Rwanda, 1995–2011: analysis of 17 years of laboratory data

Innocent Uwimana, Nestor Bizimungu, Fabrice Ingabire, Elyse Mukamukwiye, Odette Sharangabo, Semuto C. Ngabonziza, Eliane Kamanzi
African Journal of Laboratory Medicine | Vol 6, No 1 | a426 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajlm.v6i1.426 | © 2017 Innocent Uwimana, Nestor Bizimungu, Fabrice Ingabire, Elyse Mukamukwiye, Odette Sharangabo, Semuto C. Ngabonziza, Eliane Kamanzi | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 31 January 2016 | Published: 28 February 2017

About the author(s)

Innocent Uwimana, School of Public Health, National University of Rwanda, Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Program (FELTP), Kigali and Rwanda Biomedical Centre/ Biomedical Services, National Reference Laboratory Division, Kigali, Rwanda
Nestor Bizimungu, Rwanda Biomedical Centre/ Biomedical Services, National Reference Laboratory Division, Kigali, Rwanda
Fabrice Ingabire, Rwanda Biomedical Centre/ Biomedical Services, National Reference Laboratory Division, Kigali, Rwanda
Elyse Mukamukwiye, Rwanda Biomedical Centre/ Biomedical Services, National Reference Laboratory Division, Kigali, Rwanda
Odette Sharangabo, Rwanda Biomedical Centre/ Biomedical Services, National Reference Laboratory Division, Kigali, Rwanda
Semuto C. Ngabonziza, Rwanda Biomedical Centre/ Biomedical Services, National Reference Laboratory Division, Kigali, Rwanda
Eliane Kamanzi, Rwanda Biomedical Centre/ Biomedical Services, National Reference Laboratory Division, Kigali, Rwanda


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Abstract

Background: Leprosy, or Hansen’s disease, is a chronic, infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae. It remains one of the leading causes of deformity and physical disability.

Objective: We analysed laboratory records to assess trends in prevalence rates and case detection rates (CDRs) in Rwanda. Methods: A retrospective review of detected leprosy cases from the records of the Rwanda National Reference Laboratory over a 17-year period (1995–2011) was conducted. Skin biopsy samples were analysed microscopically using Ziehl-Neelsen staining technique to identify M. leprae.

Results: Cumulatively, 266 suspected cases were reported between 1995 and 2011. Of the suspected cases, 77 (28.9%) were laboratory confirmed as having leprosy. Among detected cases, 59 (76.6%) were men and 18 (23.4%) women. The male:female ratio was 3:1. There were 77 registered leprosy cases over the 17-year period of the study, and the prevalence rate was 0.005 per 10 000 population. A gradual decrease in the prevalence rate was observed from 0.015 per 10 000 population in 2003 to 0.003 per 10 000 population in 2010. From 1995 to 2011, the CDR did not exceed one per 10 000 population.

Conclusion: This laboratory review demonstrates a declining trend in prevalence rates and CDR during the period of the study. Early case detection and a sustainable leprosy control programme remain the cornerstones of reducing the physical and socio-economic burden of leprosy in Rwanda.


Keywords

Leprosy; Hansen bacilli; Prevalence rate (PR); Case detection rate (CDR); Ziehl Neelsen (ZN)

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