Genotyping of Mycobacterium leprae in a Son-and-Father Pair of Patients Indicated the Possible Mode of Leprosy Transmission: a Case Report

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Abstract

One of the success indicators of the World Health Organization (WHO) leprosy eradication program is the decreasing number of new cases of pediatric leprosy with a grade 2 disability. A case of borderline lepromatous (BL) leprosy with partial claw hand in a 13-year-old boy was reported. On physical examination, we found claw fingers on the fourth and fifth fingers of the left hand accompanied by hypoesthetic erythematous plaques on both cheeks. The patient also presented with the enlargement of bilateral great auricular, ulnar, and peroneal nerves. The bacteriological examination showed the bacterial index 3+ and morphological index 35%. The results of histopathological and serological anti-phenolic glycolipid-I examinations supported the diagnosis of BL type of leprosy. Genotyping of Mycobacterium leprae by variable number tandem repeat of the patient showed 24 copies thymine-thymine-cytosine that were similar to his father, who had been diagnosed with leprosy 12 years before, without adequate therapy. The result indicated the possibility of leprosy transmission from the father to a son. This case report revealed the presence of leprosy in children with a multibacillary infection who have been living with leprosy family members. Genotyping seems to be feasible for epidemiological analysis of leprosy transmission.

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