Information reaching FaceofMalawi indicates that over 20 people in the eastern district of Balaka have been attacked by leprosy, a disease that was believed to have been eradicated.

Balaka District Health Officer Bertha Chikuse and the District Leprosy Coordinator, George Anafi confirmed of the development in an interview with the Press.

Anafi said the resurfacing of the disease could be a result of the long incubation period that characterizes the disease, saying some people carrying the bacterium could not be aware that they are victims of the disease.

He said patients are being kept at a quarantine facility at Utale 2 Catholic Parish in the district, where they are getting treatment.

Leprosy is a chronic disease caused by a slow multiplying bacillus, Mycobacterium leprae.

The Gram-positive bacterium multiplies slowly and the incubation period of the disease is about 5 years.

Symptoms can take as long as 20 years to appear.

So far, 23 cases of leprosy have been reported in the district.

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