image of Hansen’s Disease and Complications among Marshallese Persons Residing in Northwest Arkansas, 2003–2017
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


Persons from the Republic of the Marshall Islands have among the highest rates of Hansen’s disease (HD) in the world; the largest Marshallese community in the continental United States is in northwest Arkansas. In 2017, the HD Ambulatory Care Clinic in Springdale, Arkansas, informed the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) that Marshallese persons with HD had severe disease with frequent complications. To characterize their illness, we reviewed ADH surveillance reports of HD among Marshallese persons in Arkansas treated during 2003–2017 ( = 42). Hansen’s Disease prevalence among Marshallese in Arkansas (11.7/10,000) was greater than that in the general U.S. population. Complications included arthritis (38%), erythema nodosum leprosum (21%), and prolonged treatment lasting > 2 years (40%). The majority (82%) of patients treated for > 2 years had documented intermittent therapy. Culturally appropriate support for therapy and adherence is needed in Arkansas.


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  • Received : 02 Jan 2020
  • Accepted : 26 May 2020
  • Published online : 08 Sep 2020
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