First case of Rifampicin resistance in India reported from The Leprosy Mission Hospital

To contain the threat of drug resistance in leprosy, WHO has planned to set up a network for global surveillance of drug resistance (2008-2018) in leprosy, to keep a close eye on the drug resistance scenario at many vulnerable settings. For this, WHO has developed a simple guideline to carry out sentinel surveillance, and is conducted routinely. Stanley Browne Laboratory (SB Lab) is one of the collaborative reference laboratories in this surveillance.

In 2012, SB Lab got first rifampicin resistance case of Madan. He was an18-year-old boy, working as a carpenter. He is the only son of his parents. Madan was LL case with recurrent ENL, who was on MDT, and also on thalidomide from last two years from Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital, New Delhi. But he was not getting relief in disease; neither his BI was coming down nor ENL episodes. He was referred for drug resistance testing to TLM TLM Shahdara Hospital. Madan was having a family history of leprosy. His father and some relatives were also taken leprosy treatment 18 years back.

SB Lab did drug resistance testing and found that he has resistance to rifampicin (rifampicin drug is the backbone of MDT). Along with this, the Lab tested his sample for TB infection. He was found positive for TB also. It was sad that Madan, in his young age, is suffering both from TB and leprosy. After the results from the Lab were produced, TLM Shahdara Hospital started TB treatment for Madan. The Lab was following up Madan’s case. And his BI came negative in January 2016.