Section : Conference Notes

Nerve involvement in Hansen’s Disease: Look at the nails !

  • Leprosy (Hansen’s disease) is an often ignored skin disease and this infectious disease can sometimes affect the nervous system. Non-specific nail changes can be found in Leprosy.
  • The authors sought to study nail changes in leprosy:
    • In this study cases of Hansen’s were collected from August 2011 to April 2012 (exclusion congenital nail deformities, fungal nail infections, hair conditions, taking other medications than muli-drug therapy (MDT)). 185 cases were collected.
    • Nail changes were found  in 88.1% of leprosy patients:
      • 75.7% of paucibacillary patients (PB)
      • 91.2% of multibacillary patients (MB)
    • 29 types of nail changes were found in MB
    • 21 types of nail changes were found in  PB
  • Patients with nerve involvement were 3.3 times more likely to have nail changes.

Conclusion: nail changes appear to be common in Hansen’s disease, and even more so when nerve involvement is present.


Dr Christophe Hsu – dermatologist. Geneva, Switzerland
Source of information: Truong DL et al. Nail changes in leprosy patients: clinical study. 2014 (4) – 21st Regional Conference of Dermatology; Danang (Vietnam)