Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 18, Issue 2, pp 490–493 | Cite as

A Case of Leprosy in Italy: A Multifaceted Disease Which Continues to Challenge Medical Doctors

  • Martina Maritati
  • Carlo Contini
Brief Communication


Leprosy is a chronic infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae, characterized by a very long incubation period, confounding signs and symptoms and difficulty to establish the onset time. Considering the stigma associated with the diagnosis and the difficulties in detecting asymptomatic leprosy, the incidence and prevalence of this disease are underestimated. In Italy, leprosy is currently included among the rare diseases and can occur as an imported pathology in native individuals or extra-EU immigrants. Currently, given its exceptional appearance in Italy, leprosy is extremely difficult to recognize. In fact, the incomplete knowledge by the medical class of geographical epidemiology and aetiology of tropical diseases including leprosy, often delays the definitive diagnosis. Due to the increasing rate of the migration flows, in Italy and in Europe, leprosy should be considered among the differential diagnosis in patients with cutaneous and neurological signs, especially when originating from endemic countries.


Mycobacterium leprae Borderline leprosy Immigrants Ulnar neuropathy 

List of Abbreviation


World Health Organisation


Associazione Italiana Amici Raoul Follerau






Systemic lupus erythematosus


Informed consent

Written informed consent was obtained from the patient for the publication of this case study, but not images of his face and body. A copy of a written consent is available for review by the editor-in-Chief of this journal.

Conflict of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Medical Sciences, Section of Infectious DiseasesUniversity of FerraraFerraraItaly

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