|This study was conducted as the operational epidemiology. Its goals were (1) to develop a method of identifying new leprosy cases by screening existing dermatological disease patients at Kantaraluk Hospital, Sisaket; the method being developed was aimed to be inexpensive, efficient and appropriate to its low prevalence rate, and (2) to estimate a per-case expense involved in this method. The target group was a group of dermatological disease patients who had made over 2 visits to the hospital for treatment and were residents of Kantaraluk and Benjaluk districts. Letters were mailed to them that invited them to take a screening test for leprosy at the hospital. Based on the information gathered between October 2008 and February, 2009, those who met the above criteria were 769 patients of the entire dermatological disease patient population of 5,730.
The results of the study showed that 73.73 percent of 769 patients (N=567) came for the test. The majority (54.10%) of these were females. The youngest and oldest patients were
2 and 95 years of age, respectively. The majority (69.83%) of these patients lived in leprosy-free villages. Three leprosy cases were found as a result of the screening; one case lived in a then leprosy-free village and the other two lived in a village with leprosy cases 5 years prior to the time of the study. The results of this study showed a detection rate of 1.28 cases per 100,000 tested patients. That is, a new case was diagnosed for every 189 patients being tested.