Leprosy in Children

by F. M. Noussitou and others. 28 pages, illustrated (13 color plates). World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland. Available in the United States from Q Corporation, 49 Sheridan Avenue, Albany, New York 12210. 1976. Sw. fr. 9.-; $3.60

Rodney C. Jung 3600 Chestnut Street New Orleans, Louisiana 70115

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This small publication of the World Health Organization is a valuable supplement on the one hand to the standard reference works and monographs on leprosy since it stresses the disease in children, which is frequently misleadingly presented. On the other hand, it supplements the books on tropical pediatrics, which do not cover leprosy as adequately as does the monograph.

The most important point successfully made by the authors is that a large proportion of leprosy infections begin in childhood. These childhood infections are commonly overlooked because of the benign nature of the childhood lesions and since childhood infections tend not to provide identifiable bacilli in over 90% of skin smear or nasal swabs. In biopsies of skin and nerves small numbers of M. leprae may be found.

Diagnosis is therefore established nearly always by clinical examination. This monograph assists in such examination by providing excellent color photographs of leprotic childhood lesions.