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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 82  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 252--261

Pure neuritic leprosy: Current status and relevance


1 Department of Dermatology, Bhaskar Medical College, Hyderabad, India
2 CODEWEL Nireekshana Institute, Hyderabad, India

Correspondence Address:
Prof. P Narasimha Rao
B-48, Income Tax Colony, Mehdipatnam, Hyderabad - 500 028, Telangana
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0378-6323.179086

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Pure neuritic leprosy has always been an enigma due to its clinical and management ambiguities. Although only the Indian Association of Leprologist's classification recognizes 'pure neuritic leprosy' as a distinct sub group of leprosy, cases nonetheless are reported from various countries of Asia, Africa, South America and Europe, indicating its global relevance. It is important to maintain pure neuritic leprosy as a subgroup as it constitutes a good percentage of leprosy cases reported from India, which contributes to more than half of global leprosy numbers. Unfortunately, a high proportion of these patients present with Grade 2 disability at the time of initial reporting itself due to the early nerve involvement. Although skin lesions are absent by definition, when skin biopsies were performed from the skin along the distribution of the affected nerve, a proportion of patients demonstrated leprosy pathology, revealing sub-clinical skin involvement. In addition on follow-up, skin lesions are noted to develop in up to 20% of pure neuritic leprosy cases, indicating its progression to manifest cutaneous disease. Over the decades, the confirmation of diagnosis of pure neuritic leprosy has been subjective, however, with the arrival and use of high-resolution ultrasonography (HRUS) for nerve imaging, we have a tool not only to objectively measure and record the nerve thickening but also to assess the morphological alterations in the nerve including echo texture, fascicular pattern and vascularity. Management of pure neuritic leprosy requires multidrug therapy along with appropriate dose of systemic corticosteroids, for both acute and silent neuritis. Measures for pain relief, self-care of limbs and physiotherapy are important to prevent as well as manage disabilities in this group of patients.






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