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SPECIAL ARTICLE   Openopen access

Italian Journal of Emergency Medicine 2020 December;9(3):195-202

DOI: 10.23736/S2532-1285.20.00049-X

Copyright © 2020 THE AUTHORS

This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license

lingua: Inglese

Leprosy patients in the Emergency Department

Cesare MASSONE 1 , Gianfranco BARABINO 2, Patrizia FORGIONE 3, Paolo CREMONESI 4

1 Unit of Dermatology, Galliera Hospital, Genoa, Italy; 2 Unit of Social Dermatology, IRCCS Ospedale Policlinico San Martino, Genoa, Italy; 3 Hansen Disease Center, Naples, Italy; 4 Galliera Hospital, Genoa, Italy



Leprosy is an infectious disease of skin and peripheral nerves with a chronic course and few acute phases (leprosy reactions) that may determine severe neurological sequels. Despite over 30 years of leprosy elimination programs, clear cut diagnostic criteria and standardized treatment regimes, leprosy is far from been eliminated with still 208.619 new leprosy cases detected in 2018. Leprosy is present also in Europe, with 50 cases reported in 2018 mainly in patients arriving from endemic areas. In Italy, Italian patients with leprosy almost disappeared in the last twenty years and leprosy is mainly diagnosed in immigrants. We presented a short review about leprosy signs and symptoms: the aim of this study was to help physicians to recognize and diagnose leprosy patients. Leprosy patients may attend Emergency Room at each stage of the disease, but particularly when affected by the acute phases of leprosy, called “leprosy reaction.” The clinical presentations may be similar to several dermatological, neurological or internal diseases and therefore represent a difficult diagnostic challenge. Leprosy patients must be properly recognized, particularly when presenting acute neurological involvement and when infectious.


KEY WORDS: Leprosy; Emergency service, hospital; Diagnosis; Therapeutics

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