Another case of leprosy detected

18:04, Feb 18 2014

Ashburton has recorded a case of leprosy, the seventh to be recorded in New Zealand since last November.

Of the six other cases, five were reported in November and a sixth in December. The latest case was notified to the Canterbury District Health Board just over two weeks ago.

Medical Officer of Health for Canterbury Ramon Pink, said the disease is rare in New Zealand.

"It usually occurs in immigrants from countries where the disease is endemic," he said.

"The latest case is a male in his 20s. New Zealand has a strong surveillance system and treated early enough, as in this case, the risk of permanent disfigurement is considerably lessened. There is no risk to anyone else and others in his household are being well managed."

Leprosy is one of a group of notifiable diseases which includes dengue fever, hepatitis A, B and C, campylobacteriosis, hydatid disease, giardia, typhoid fever, rotovirus, leptospirosis and norovirus.


During the first week of February, Ashburton and Timaru both recorded two cases of campylobacteriosis; Ashburton recorded a single case of hepatitis C and two cases of salmonellosis; and Timaru one case each of leptospirois and salmonellosis.

Those diagnosed with leprosy last November ranged in age from three to 39 years, with two patients being aged between 10-14 years, and one in each of the 1-4 years, 5 to 9 years and 20 to 29-years age brackets.

The cases covered a spread of district health boards: MidCentral (three cases), and one each from Waitemata and Hutt Valley.

In all cases, the disease was contracted overseas.

A further probable case was notified in December. That case involved a male in the 40 to 49 age group from the Waikato District Health Board who was in India during the incubation period.

The Timaru Herald