Volume 102, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



Resistance to anti-leprosy drugs is on the rise. Several studies have documented resistance to rifampicin, dapsone, and ofloxacin in patients with leprosy. We looked for point mutations within the folP1, rpoB, and gyrA gene regions of the genome predominantly in the neural form of leprosy. DNA samples from 77 nerve tissue samples were polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-amplified for DNA and sequenced for drug resistance–determining regions of genes rpoB, folP1, and gyrA. The mean age at presentation and onset was 38.2 ± 13.4 (range 14–71) years and 34.9 ± 12.6 years (range 10–63) years, respectively. The majority had borderline tuberculoid leprosy (53 [68.8%]). Mutations associated with resistance were identified in 6/77 (7.8%) specimens. Mutations seen were those associated with resistance to rifampicin, ofloxacin, and dapsone. All the six patients were drug-naive. The clinical and pathological manifestations in this group did not differ from the drug-sensitive group. This study highlights the occurrence of resistance to the standard multidrug therapy and ofloxacin in leprosy. Among the entire cohort, 1/77 (1.3%) showed resistance to rifampicin, 2/77 (2.6%) to dapsone, and 5/77 (6.4%) to ofloxacin. Six new patients showing infection by mutant strains indicated the emergence of primary resistance. Resistance to ofloxacin could be due to frequent use of quinolones for many bacterial infections. The results of the study indicate the need for development of a robust and strict surveillance system for detecting drug resistance in leprosy in India.


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  • Received : 22 May 2019
  • Accepted : 24 Nov 2019
  • Published online : 13 Jan 2020
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