The role of an active surveillance strategy of targeting household and neighborhood contacts related to leprosy cases released from treatment in a low-endemic area of China
PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Early diagnosis remains the primary goal for leprosy management programs. This study aims to determine whether active surveillance of patients with leprosy and their contact individuals increased identification of latent leprosy cases in the low-endemic areas. This cross-sectional survey was carried out between October 2014 and August 2016 in 21 counties throughout Shandong Province. The survey was conducted among patients with leprosy released from treatment (RFT) and their contacts from both
... contacts from both household and neighbors. A total of 2,210 RFT patients and 9,742 contacts comprising 7877 household contacts (HHCs), including 5,844 genetic related family members (GRFMs) and 2033 non-genetic related family members and 1,865 contacts living in neighboring houses (neighbor contacts, NCs), were recruited. Among identified individuals, one relapsed and 13 were newly diagnosed, giving a detection rate of 0.12%, corresponding to 120 times the passive case detection rate. Detection rates were similar for HHCs and NCs (0.114% vs. 0.214%, P = 0.287). Analysis of the family history of leprosy patients revealed clustering of newly diagnosed cases and association with residential coordinates of previously-diagnosed multibacillary leprosy cases. Active case-finding programs are feasible and contributes to early case detection by tracking HHCs and NCs in low-endemic areas.