The Minister of Health Osagie Ehanire says the number of new leprosy cases detected annually has dropped from 7,827 in 1994 to less than 2,000 in 2020.
He stated this at a news conference in Abuja in commemoration of 2022 World Leprosy Day themed “United for Dignity, noting that the day is been celebrated every last Sunday of January to create awareness and mobilise support for leprosy control.
Ehanire said that leprosy was a mildly infectious disease caused by a slow multiplying bacillus, Mycobacterium leprae with incubation period of about five years. He added that symptoms could take as long as 20 years to appear.
The Minster however said the disease mainly affects the skin, peripheral nerves, mucosa of the upper respiratory tract, the eyes and is transmitted through droplets, from the nose and mouth, during close and frequent contacts with untreated cases.
He also noted that leprosy is still a public health problem in Nigeria, as the country is among the few nations in the world that are still reporting greater than 1,000 new leprosy cases annually.