Epidemiology of Leprosy in Iran from 2005 to 2015


1 Social Development and Health Promotion Research Center, Gonabad University of Medical Sciences, Gonabad, Iran

2 Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

3 Department of Community Medicine, School of Medicine, Zahedan University of Medical Sciences, Zahedan, Iran,

4 Dezful University of Medical Sciences, Dezful, Iran,

5 Centers for Communicable Disease Control and Prevention, Ministry of Health and Medical Education, Tehran, Iran,

6 Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, Hamadan University of Medical Sciences, Hamadan, Iran,

7 Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.


Background: Leprosy is a chronic infectious disease with permanent complications that mainly affect the skin, peripheral nerves, mucosal surfaces of the upper respiratory tract, and eyes. The aim of this study was to investigate the epidemiology and trends of leprosy in Iran from 2005 to 2015. Materials and Methods: This was a cross-sectional study analyzing leprosy records from the Center for Communicable Disease Control, Ministry of Health and Medical Education, during 2005-2015. Results: Of the 433 cases of leprosy diagnosed from 2005 to 2014, 87.1% were Iranian, and 56.2% of the Iranian cases were male. Furthermore, 82.5% of cases were multibacillary. The paucibacillary leprosy cases had a better remission rate in most years of the study. The annual prevalence and case detection rates of leprosy (per 100,000 population) significantly decreased in Iran between 2005 and 2015: from 0.2 to 0.02 and from 0.11 in 2005 to 0.02, respectively. The geographical distribution of leprosy cases in 2014 showed that leprosy is more common in the west, north, northwest, and south of Iran. Conclusion: Although Iran is currently an area in which leprosy is not a serious problem, new cases of leprosy are still diagnosed in Iran. Considering that Iran is attempting to eradicate the disease, careful attention to all aspects of the disease is essential.