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Giornale Italiano di Dermatologia e Venereologia 2003 February;138(1):57-60


language: Italian

Telematic diagnosis of leprosy

Nunzi E. 1, Forgione P. 2, Clapasson A. 1, Persi A. 1

1 Laboratorio Sovraregionale del Centro di Riferimento Nazionale per il Morbo di Hansen Azienda Ospedaliera Ospedale San Martino di Genova, Genova 2 Clinica Pineta Grande, Castelvolturno, Caserta


The diagnosis of a rare disease is made difficult by the fact that there is no clinical practice and specialised laboratories are wanting. In Italy, Hansen’s disease is included in the list of rare diseases; the diagnosis of leprosy is made difficult not only by the fact that it is rare but also by the many-faceted aspects it can assume. The epidemiology of leprosy had taken on a quite different physiognomy at the end of the last century to the extent that 70% of patients are now represented by extra-european immigrants. Today the disease is seen all over the country and is no longer concentrated in strictly limited autochtonous areas. The national reference centre for Hansen’s disease in Genoa organised 11 courses on leprology for medical personnel with the purpose of providing physicians with the information necessary to arrive at the diagnostic suspicion of leprosy. however, the courses are not sufficient on their own if the participants are not assisted permanently once they return to their local situations. The Genoa Centre not only created a web site but also set up a remote medical service which supplies a diagnostic support to facilitate the diagnosis of leprosy. For this purpose the service can also rely on the activity of the annexed supraregional laboratory for Hansen’s disease. A case of long-distance diagnosis made by e-mail transmission of clinical pictures and testing of biological material sent to the laboratory is reported. The diagnosis of lepromatous leprosy arose from the ensuing telediscussion.

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