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In addition to the complications of leprosy, people affected by leprosy (PALs) can suffer from chronic diseases. We evaluated the recent pattern of deaths among Korean PALs and compared it with that in the general population. We analyzed the death certificate data of 1,359 PALs from 2010 through 2013. The all-cause and cause-specific standardized mortality ratio (SMR) and standardized mortality with 95% CI were calculated. Malignancy had the highest standardized mortality, with 130.9 deaths per 100,000 persons, followed by cardiovascular diseases (CVDs; 85.5 deaths) and respiratory diseases (38.2 deaths). Of malignancies, liver cancer caused the greatest number of cancer deaths (40.0 deaths). The all-cause mortality of PALs was significantly lower than that in the general population, corresponding to an SMR of 0.84 (95% CI 0.79–0.88). Deaths from malignancy and CVDs were significantly lower, corresponding to SMRs (95% CIs) of 0.88 (0.79–0.98) and 0.75 (0.67–0.84), respectively. The death rates for lung and stomach cancers were lower, whereas mortality due to liver cancer was higher, with an SMR of 1.79 (95% CI 1.43–2.22). Except for liver cancer and infection, the causes of mortality of PALs tend to be lower than that in the general population. The most common underlying cause of death in PALs was stroke, followed by ischemic heart disease, liver cancer, and pneumonia.
Authors’ addresses: Young-Hwan Ahn, Department of Gastroenterology, Ajou University School of Medicine, Suwon, Korea, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Hyungcheol Park, Department of Preventive Medicine, Sorokdo National Hospital, Goheung-gun, Korea, E-mail: email@example.com. Sun-Seog Kweon, Department of Preventive Medicine, Chonnam National University, Hwasun-gun, Korea, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.