Brazil launches media campaign to fight leprosy
October 21, 1996
Web posted at: 6:30 p.m. EDT (2230 GMT)
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (CNN) - The Brazilian government has
launched a national television and radio campaign to educate
people about leprosy, a highly contagious disease that has
become epidemic in some regions of the country.
Health officials estimate that as many as half a million
people are afflicted with the disease. An average of 100 new
cases are reported each day.
Leprosy is a disease that primarily afflicts the skin and
nerves. If left untreated, it can cause paralysis and
disfigurement. Once considered a punishment from God, leprosy
is a disease that carries a social stigma as well.
Early diagnosis and treatment of the disease are crucial to
containing its spread.
"With the medications now available for treatment, this
disease could have been eradicated. Instead it's a serious
problem," said Arturo Custodio Moreira, an expert on the
Health officials are targeting high poverty areas, where the
disease is spreading most rapidly. The new media campaign
teaches people how to identify leprosy and encourages them to
see a doctor as soon as they suspect they may have the
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