Volume 18, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



A survey on New Caledonia confirmed the occurrence of a previously reported syndrome of spastic paralysis among leprosy patients. Of 18 patients recorded as having frank spastic paraplegia, seven were examined neurologically, as well as 51 other patients with leprosy but not spastic paralysis, and 23 patients with tuberculosis. Significant hyperreflexia was fairly common among both Melanesian and European leprosy patients, but was totally absent among tuberculosis patients. This syndrome was clinically unrelated to foci of neurologic disease previously reported in the Pacific Basin on Guam, the Kii Peninsula of Japan, and New Guinea. It is probably more closely related to diseases reported in other parts of the world that are generally regarded as nutritional or toxic in origin. The syndrome is possibly related to sulfone treatment of leprosy, although this has not been reported in other areas of the world where sulfones are used in the treatment of leprosy.


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