Leprosy is now a widespread disease on the planet. Unfortunately, millions of people in Asia, Africa and South America are still suffering from leprosy today. The average number of new cases of leprosy in the world every year is 700 to 800 people a day, i.e. a new case is diagnosed every two minutes. One in five of them is a child.
80% of the world's leprosy patients live in India. New cases are on the rise in Mozambique, Congo and Brazil. However, the incidence of the disease today and the actual number of leprosy patients is much higher than those officially registered: the number of untreated leprosy patients living in remote and isolated places is unknown. The Leprosy Action is fighting a huge battle to reach the most hidden places and bring the good news of a cure to as many people as possible.
Around 3 million of our fellow human beings are now cured with the help of medicine, but will live the rest of their lives with permanent disabilities. The fear, stigma and exclusion caused by ignorance causes more pain than the disease itself. This is why many people are afraid to seek medical help for their illness. In the case of 12% of leprosy patients cured by the Leprosy Mission, permanent disability could have been avoided if they had sought medical attention and received timely treatment and care.
The incidence of leprosy is therefore not measured in terms of the numbers of an epidemic. However, its negative impact on human lives and quality of life is extremely serious.