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Second case of leprosy reported in Ireland

A male foreign national had a occurrence of the disease which he had contracted in a foreign country and has been treated in a north-east hospital.

A leprosy hospital in Indonesia
A leprosy hospital in Indonesia
Image: AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana

JUST TWO MONTHS after Ireland recorded the first case of leprosy in the country for decades, a second case has been confirmed.

The second incident occurred in the north-east of the country, the same area as the first and the HSE was notified of the case in June.  The HSE has confirmed the case and it is believed that, as with the earlier case, the patient was a male foreign national who had contracted the disease abroad.

“This case was notified to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre by the HSE North East in June 2013. The individual had a recurrence of leprosy which the individual had contracted in another country. He did not acquire Leprosy in Ireland,” a HSE spokesperson told TheJournal.ie.

The HSE could not confirm what strain of leprosy the patient was suffering from, citing data protection concerns. The executive has stressed that the disease in not highly infectious.

It is transmitted by small droplets from the mouth and nose that are spread through frequent contact at close quarters. It’s symptoms often only show up to five years after initial contact.

Early intervention can prevent any disability and it does not cause the loss of limbs. Extremities can shorten and reform, however.

Before the case earlier this year, no formal records could identify the last case of leprosy in Ireland, though the disease is prevalent in developing countries.

Previously: Ireland records first known case of leprosy in decades

Read: IMO to discuss crisis with health officials

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