Saint Lucia reports first case of Leprosy in New Year, confirms Health Ministry

The Ministry of Health, Wellness and Elderly Affairs of Saint Lucia confirmed the new cases of Leprosy registered on the island during the message delivered by the official to mark World Leprosy Day. It is to be noted that 11 cases were registered last year.

Saint Lucia discovers first case of Leprosy in New Year, confirms Health Ministry. Picture Credits: Fb accounts
Saint Lucia discovers first case of Leprosy in New Year, confirms Health Ministry. Picture Credits: Fb accounts

Castries, Saint Lucia: The Ministry of Health, Wellness, and Elderly Affairs of Saint Lucia has confirmed the new cases of Leprosy registered on the island during the official message to mark World Leprosy Day. It is to be noted that 11 cases were registered last year.

During the message, the country’s health officials stated that “leprosy is not an illness of the past; it is a disease which still creates an impact on the millions of persons around the world and scores of Saint Lucians today.”

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Notably, Leprosy is a chronic disease caused by a bacterium, Mycobacterium leprae, that affects the skin, nerves, and eyes. However, the disease is curable using a combination of drugs that are available free of charge within the public health system.

While shedding light on the disease, the officers explained that the infection may be transmitted mainly through droplets from the mouth and nose during prolonged close contact with the person diagnosed with leprosy. 

The ministry also highlighted that “Leprosy has a long incubation period, on average, at least five years. That means someone could be infected with Leprosy but not show any signs or lesions on the body or symptoms like loss of feeling and decreased sweating in the lesions for up to 5 years.”

World Leprosy day celebrated on 28th January. Picture Credits: Fb accounts
World Leprosy Day is celebrated on 28th January. Picture Credits: FB accounts

The Health Ministry of Saint Lucia added that they intend to introduce treatment for people who have had close contact with someone diagnosed with Leprosy.

“This medication will help in reducing the chances of getting the disease. One single dose of Rifampicin can lower the possibility of a person getting Leprosy even if they come in close contact with an infected person,” stated the officers of the Health Ministry. 

The Ministry of Health, Wellness and Elderly Affairs of Saint Lucia requested the citizens to visit the nearest healthcare amenities if they see any light-coloured spot with decreased sensation or feeling or getting non-healing recurrent burns and ulcers to the hands and feet.

 “Let us all join hands to end the stigma connected with the disease of Leprosy and promote the dignity of people who are affected by the disease. Together, we can make a difference,” noted the Health Ministry officers. 

Moreover, World Leprosy Day is annually celebrated on the last Sunday of January, which plays a pivotal role in raising awareness about Leprosy, alias Hansen’s disease. This year, World Leprosy Day was celebrated on 28 January with the theme “Ending Stigma, Embracing Dignity.”