747 new leprosy cases in NE region, Centre worried

Shillong: The Centre has expressed concern at re-emergence of leprosy cases in certain pockets of the eighth North Eastern states which have reported 747 new cases.

Except four districts of Assam which recorded higher prevalence of leprosy than the national average, the NE region is otherwise considered low endemic states.

"It is a concern that the disease is re-emerging in certain pockets in the north east," Dr C M Agrawal, Deputy Director General (Lep), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, said.

The north eastern states reported 747 new cases in a year till September 30 with Assam recording the maximum 616 cases, Agrawal said on the sidelines of a regional review meeting of state leprosy officers of the region.

Assam is followed by Nagaland (32), Tripura (23), Sikkim (20), Mizoram (18), Arunachal Pradesh (17), Meghalaya (15) and Manipur (six).

In Assam, the most affected districts were Sivsagar and Tinsukia which recorded 99 and 87 new cases followed by 42 in Sonitpur, 39 in Kamrup Metro and 38 in Cachar district, B L Deori, Jt Director of Health Services in Assam, said.

All the other districts, except Chirang and Dima Hasao, registered new cases but their number is fewer.

Deori said the annual new case detection rate is 3.57 per one lakh population with 63 child cases this year alone, and over 1000 cases under treatment.

Nine paramedical workers were also appointed in the most affected districts, she said.

In Nagaland, K V Kimiki, State Leprosy Officer, said 30 cases were reported from Dimapur, while one each was reported from Kohima and Mokukchung districts.

Tripura reported 23 new cases and 69 patients are undergoing treatment, the official said.