What is the prevalence of drug-resistant leprosy?

Updated: Aug 24, 2018
  • Author: Darvin Scott Smith, MD, MSc, DTM&H; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Observations of increasing resistance in patients treated for leprosy have been reported in Southeast Asia, notably in Vietnam. [17] The drug most commonly found to be resistant is dapsone, often in the context of prior exposure or treatment attempts with monotherapy. Although drug resistance is an ongoing concern, it is difficult to assess in this slow-growing organism. In a study of M leprae strains from South America, few of 230 strains subjected to molecular drug-susceptibility analysis were drug-resistant. Of the 230 strains, 3 were identified as clinically relapsing and were found to be resistant by genetic testing; 2 of the 3 were dapsone-resistant; and 1 was dapsone-resistant and rifampin-resistant using genetic testing for point mutation. [18]

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