The state government has joined the national leprosy prevention campaign. In support of the initiative, the Piratini Palace gained new illumination on Friday (20/1). Until January 31, purple lights will be lit every night on the front of the building, reinforcing the importance of disease control.
The campaign organized by the Brazilian Society of Dermatology (SBD), also called Purple January, covers the entire month of January. On the last Sunday of the month, World Leprosy Prevention and Control Day will be remembered.
Among the goals of Purple January are alerting to the importance of early diagnosis and treatment, informing about treatment options available in the public network and fighting prejudice against people with the disease.
In the past, leprosy was called leprosy, and its carriers suffered prejudice and racial segregation. Even today, health professionals struggle to reduce the discrimination and stigma that arises around this problem.
Rio Grande do Sul has a low incidence of the disease. According to epidemiological data from the Ministry of Health (SES), the state currently has the lowest incidence in Brazil (0.83, which corresponds to 94 new cases in 2021). However, there is a high proportion of patients with proven disabilities due to late diagnosis. In all, 23% of cases had the most serious complications of the disease, which could have been avoided with early diagnosis.
“The disease is curable and all treatments are provided free of charge through the Unified Health System (SUS). However, it is an alarming disease that can cause serious problems. This is why early diagnosis is so important, ”said Marcia Lira, responsible for the State Program for Leprosy Control.
Another disturbing fact is that although notifications are gradually decreasing in Brazil, the country is the second in the world in terms of the number of cases, second only to India, highlighting the importance of fighting the disease.
Combat strategies include early detection of cases, prompt treatment and evaluation of contacts. These measures are important to break the chain of disease transmission and to prevent physical disabilities.
about the disease
Leprosy is a chronic, transmissible disease, with compulsory notification and compulsory investigation throughout the national territory. The problem can affect people of both sexes and of any age.
The causative agent of the disease is the bacterium Mycobacterium leprae. However, exposure to the bacteria takes a long time to lead to disease. About 90% of people are born with some degree of protection from the disease, and transmission is between people who have close, long-term contact.
Warning signs include red spots on the skin, a change in sensitivity, and a loss of strength in the arms. Diagnosis is made by physical examination, sensitivity testing (thermal, painful and tactile) and specific laboratory tests.
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