Surge in Leprosy cases sparks concern in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has witnessed a significant rise in leprosy cases, with a total of 1,550 cases reported in 2023, raising alarm among health officials. 173 cases were identified among school children, prompting urgent action from authorities.

The Anti-Leprosy Campaign revealed that the Colombo District has recorded the highest number of cases, with 315 instances, followed by 168 cases in Gampaha and 151 in Kalutara districts. This concerning trend has prompted health officials to take proactive measures to curb the spread of the disease, especially among the vulnerable student population.

In response to the uptick in cases among school children, a nationwide program has been launched at the school level to detect leprosy infections early on. The goal is to identify and treat cases promptly to prevent further transmission within the community.

The Anti-Leprosy Campaign has classified the cases into two types—communicable and non-communicable. Disturbingly, 60% of the detected cases are categorized as communicable, indicating a higher risk of transmission. This has intensified the urgency for comprehensive measures to contain and manage the spread of leprosy.

According to information from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 95% of humans are immune to the bacteria causing leprosy. Despite this reassuring statistic, health officials are emphasizing the need for vigilance and a comprehensive approach to address both communicable and non-communicable forms of the disease.