Brazilian patients and doctors require further education regarding leprosy

Brazilian patients and doctors require further education regarding leprosy

It seems that both patients and doctors in Brazil need better education to recognise the early symptoms of leprosy, according to a study led by researchers at the University of Birmingham.

The scientists at the university believe that with more information, it would help to reduce cases of the disease in Brazil.

It's important that this issue is tackled now because delays in diagnoses can be up to as much as ten years in some cases.

Not only this, but research has shown that further study into the area would help to reduce the social stigma that is attached to the Infectious disease, even though it's curable.

By learning more about it, Birmingham's university researchers feel that people would be more likely to go to their doctor to seek treatment for the condition earlier on.

The study looked at leprosy referral clinics in three different Brazilian states and found that people who thought they had the disease were afraid to go to the doctor to find out for certain for fear of being shunned by their community.

As such, these people are - on average - likely to wait ten times longer than another patient to have a look at their symptoms.

Sadly, researchers also found that as many as 42 per cent of people who took part in the study stated that they had been misdiagnosed by their doctor as having diseases like rheumatism and skin allergies.

Lead author of the study from the University of Birmingham Mary Henry said: "This study highlights the need for further patient education on the disease's symptoms, as well as the reduction of stigma to encourage patients to seek earlier medical care."

She stressed how important it was to diagnose the disease early, commenting: "Delays in identifying and treating the condition mean that the disease is more likely to spread and the patients in question may suffer more severe disabilities."