19.1 Classification of leprosy
Classification of leprosy patients is based on the clinical features (see Table 19.1). The World Health Organization (WHO) distinguishes between two major types, one of which (multibacillary leprosy) was introduced in Study Session 18. Paucibacillary leprosy is characterised by the low number of skin lesions and the low number (or absence) of visible Mycobacterium leprae in microscope slides taken from these patients.
Table 19.1 Classification of leprosy types.
|Clinical features||Paucibacillary (PB)||Multibacillary (MB)|
|Skin lesions||One to five lesions||Six or more lesions|
|Nerve damage||Only one nerve involved||Two or more nerves involved|
Paucibacillary is pronounced pore-see-bass-ill-ary’. Pauci comes from the Latin word meaning ‘few’.