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Spatial patterns of leprosy in an urban area of central Brazil

et al

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Reported is the spatial variation of leprosy in an urban area of Brazil and its correlation with socioeconomic indicators. From November 1991 to October 1992 a total of 752 newly diagnosed leprosy patients who were attending all outpatient clinics in Golania city, central Brazil, were indentified. A database of leprosy cases was set up linking patients' addresses to 64 urban districts. Leprosy cases were detected in 86 of the districts and three risk strata were identified. The highest risk area for leprosy was in the outskirts of the city and detection rates increased on moving from more developed to poorer areas. The risk of detecting leprosy cases was 5.3-fold greater (95CL: 3.8-7.4) in the outskirst of the town than in the central zone.
Discussed are the methodological issues related to leprosy case ascertainment, completeness and reliability of information, and the interpretation of the spatial distribution of leprosy per unti area. High lighted also are the lack of deprosy control activities in primary health care units and the usefulness of geographical analysis in planning health services.

Global data on blindness

Thylefors, B et al

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Globally, it is estimated that there are 38 million persons who are blind. Moreover, a further 110 million people have low vision and are at great risk of becoming blind. The main causes of blindness and low vision are cataract, trachoma, glaucoma, onchocerciasis, and xerophthalmia; however, insufficient data on blindness from causes such as diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration preclude specific estimations of their global prevalence. The age- specific prevalences of the major causes of blindness that are related to age indicate that the trend will be for an increase in such blindness over the decades to come, unless energetic efforts are made to tackle these problems. More data collected through standardized methodologies, using internationally accepted (ICD-10) definitions, are needed. Data on the incidence of blindness due to common causes would be useful for calculating future trends more precisely.