Volume 78, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


It is generally held that dissemination of is from nasal mucosa and not through the skin of infected patients. In this study, we evaluated in the unbroken skin and nasal secretions of multibacillary (MB) leprosy patients and their contacts. Specimens were examined by direct microscopy and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for DNA. Results showed that 60% of untreated MB leprosy patients examined histologically had acid-fast bacilli in the keratin layer. By PCR studies it was found that 80% of the patients had DNA in skin washings and 60% had DNA on swabs obtained from the nasal mucosa. Ninety-three contacts of the untreated MB cases were also tested for exposure to by analyzing skin washings and nasal secretions by PCR. PCR analysis showed significant skin (17% positive) and nasal muscosal (4%) exposure in contacts before instituting treatment of the index cases. After 2 months of treating the index cases, all contacts tested were negative for DNA. These data suggested that both skin and nasal epithelia of untreated MB leprosy patients contribute to the shedding of into the environment and contacts of untreated MB cases are at risk for contact with through both the nasal mucosa and exposed surfaces of their skin.


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  • Received : 16 Aug 2007
  • Accepted : 07 Dec 2007

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