Leprosy in Mexico: which states have active cases

According to the Ministry of Health (SSa), there are currently 18 states in Mexico with confirmed cases of leprosy, in total around these states there are 89 patients with this disease; however, it should be noted that the state of Sinaloa concentrates 32 of them.

Leprosy in Mexico: which states have active cases
Multibacillary leprosy lesion. Image: Wikimedia

According to the Ministry of Health (SSa), currently, there are 18 states in Mexico with confirmed cases of leprosy, in sum around these states there are 89 patients with this disease; however, it is worth noting that the state of Sinaloa concentrates 32 of them.

This news alerted different people in social networks; however, this can be based on the collective ignorance regarding this disease, since leprosy is not a fatal illness and it is curable with a treatment that lasts from 6 to 24 months.

The preliminary list, presented by the institution, indicates that 50 of the aggrieved with this disease are men and 39 are women, with a list determined by entities as follows:

Sinaloa has 32 cases, Michoacán 15, Jalisco 6, Nayarit 5, Chiapas and Nuevo León 4, Yucatán, Guerrero and Colima 3, Tamaulipas, Quintana Roo, Guanajuato, Coahuila and Baja California 2, and finally Aguascalientes, Oaxaca, Morelos and the State of Mexico with 1.

Leprosy or Hansen's disease is a chronic infectious disease produced by the Mycobacterium Leprae bacillus that mainly affects the peripheral nerves and the skin, but also affects other sites such as the mucous membranes, eyes, bones, and testicles. According to researchers Carlos Franco-Paredes and Alfonso Rodriguez-Morales, its most serious complications range from disfigurement to disability.

It is known that this disease has affected humanity for 4,000 years, because in 2009, during an archaeological excavation in Rajasthan, India, bone remains of an adult man were found with samples of having suffered this infection.

The contagion occurs between a patient with the possibility of transmitting the disease (since not all those suffering from leprosy eliminate bacilli outside their body, a possibility that is eliminated by administering medication) and a healthy susceptible person, which can occur in a non-spontaneous manner. That is to say, a sick person that acts as an infectious agent and another healthy person with a special predisposition must be conjugated for a long period so that the contagion happens.

The treatment to cure the disease consists of the oral intake of the drug dapsone and at the same time, rifampicin; however, it is always recommended to go to the doctor to avoid self-medication, since side effects can exist in the intake. According to the researcher Francisco Javier López Antuñano, the treatment of the disease should be prolonged between six months and two years.

Part of the scaremongering about this infection is because the media has turned to another pandemic in Mexico, that of the coronavirus; however, it must be understood that the lethality, the mode of transmission, and the treatment are completely different.

Regarding the treatment against the new coronavirus, the Federal Commission for Protection against Sanitary Risks (Cofepris) issued an alert on the use of chlorine dioxide, a substance that has been marketed as a "Miracle Mineral Solution" with the promise of curing Covid-19, because it does not do so and, on the contrary, it can have serious effects on health.

Chlorine dioxide is a yellow or reddish-yellow gas used as a bleach in the paper manufacturing and water treatment process. When it comes into contact with water, it reacts to form chlorite ions, which are highly reactive substances.

"Cofepris has not authorized any sanitary registration of medicines that contain in their formulation the substance called chlorine dioxide, sodium chlorite or its derivatives, so their use represents a risk to health since they do not know the quality of the inputs, the conditions of manufacture, storage, and distribution," warned in its communication.