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Journal of Medical Case Reports

, 3:8

First Online: 13 January 2009Received: 16 July 2008Accepted: 13 January 2009DOI: 10.1186-1752-1947-3-8

Cite this article as: Sapkota, B.R., Neupane, K.D. & Maharjan, R.K. J Med Case Reports 2009 3: 8. doi:10.1186-1752-1947-3-8


IntroductionLeprosy exhibits a wide spectrum of presentation, varying from the tuberculoid to the lepromatous pole, with immunologically unstable borderline forms in-between, depending upon the immune status of the individual. The clinical system of classification for the purpose of treatment includes the number of skin lesions and nerves involved as the basis for classifying the patients into multibacillary and paucibacillary.

Case presentationA 20-year-old man belonging to a moderately endemic leprosy area in the Terai region of Nepal reported a large single, hypopigmented, well defined anaesthetic lesion on his left thigh extending to his knee which had been present for 2 years. There was no other nerve involvement. Clinical diagnosis was tuberculoid leprosy and immunological lateral flow test for anti-Phenolic glycolipid-I antibody was positive. Six months of paucibacillary multidrug treatment was advised immediately. However, the patient was reclassified as multibacillary on the basis of a positive skin smear and appropriate treatment of 24 months multibacillary multidrug regimen was commenced after only 1 week. Slit skin smear examination for Mycobacterium leprae from the lesion revealed a bacterial index of 4+ while it was negative from the routine sites. Histopathological examination from skin biopsy of the lesion further supported the bacterial index of the lesion granuloma which was 2+ and the patient was diagnosed as borderline tuberculoid. Bacteriological, histological, and immunological findings of this patient were borderline tuberculoid leprosy and he should have been treated with multibacillary regimen from the beginning. Five months after commencement of treatment, the patient developed a leprae reaction of Type 1 or reversal reaction with some nerve function impairment and enlargement of the lateral popliteal nerve of the left leg. This reversal reaction was managed by standard oral prednisolone whilst continuing the multibacillary multidrug regimen.

ConclusionThis case illustrates and emphasizes the importance of slit-skin smear and biopsy as routine in all new cases to help differentiate multibacillary from paucibacillary for correct treatment. It further suggests that there are factors yet undetermined which play a significant role in determining the host response to M. leprae which is a remaining challenge in this disease.

AbbreviationsBIBacterial index

BTborderline tuberculoid

IFN-γinterferon gamma


MDTmultidrug treatment

MLSA-LAMMycobacterium leprae soluble antigen devoid of lipoarabinomannan

MLCwAMycobacterium leprae cell wall antigen

MTB PPDMycobacterium tuberculosis purified protein derivative


PGL-IPhenolic glycolipid-I

TTtuberculoid leprosy

VMT-STvolunteer muscle testing and sensory test

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1752-1947-3-8 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Autor: Bishwa R Sapkota - Kapil D Neupane - Ram K Maharjan


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