End of leprosy in China seen by 2020
After decades of efforts against leprosy, the possibility of eliminating the disease in China is possible by 2020, according to the head the Novartis Foundation.
Ann Aerts of the Novartis Foundation made the comment to China Daily during the 19th International Leprosy Congress in Beijing. The Switzerlandbased Novartis health-care company provides anti-leprosy medicine free.
Leprosy is infectious but curable. The organism that causes it, mycobacterium leprae, has the unique ability to infect the peripheral nerves in humans, which may result in an inability to feel pain in the hands or feet, blindness and the loss of fingers or toes.
China detects around 600 to 700 new leprosy patients annually. Globally, around 211,000 people were diagnosed with leprosy in 2015 — an average of one every 2.5 minutes. Of those, 1 in 11 are children, indicating continued transmission of the disease.