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Leprosy's Last Stand—or Early Days of a War of Attrition?

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Science  19 Feb 2010:
Vol. 327, Issue 5968, pp. 939
DOI: 10.1126/science.327.5968.939

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Some 20,000 disabled people reside in 617 leprosaria or leprosy villages across China, 10 years after the country thought it had defeated the disease. After decades of neglect, the central government has launched a campaign to renovate decaying leprosy facilities. The overhaul is one prong of a reinvigorated strategy against an age-old malady that persists mainly in remote parts of the southwest. To researchers' consternation, the number of new leprosy cases reported each year in China has held steady since the late 1990s. A fresh worry here is a possible uptick in resistance to rifampicin, the big gun in multidrug therapy.