Hansen disease, or leprosy, is caused by Mycobacterium leprae or Mycobacterium lepromatosis. Because these bacteria enter the body via the upper airways, they generate clinical manifestations in the nasal mucous membranes and the mouth. We aimed to describe the characteristics of oral lesions in patients with Hansen disease.
Cross-sectional observational study of 100 patients diagnosed with Hansen disease. We examined the oral cavity and recorded clinical findings on a disease reporting form for each patient. We also included the histopathologic findings for lesions that required a biopsy. Samples suggestive of Hansen disease were processed with hematoxylin-eosin, Ziehl-Neelsen, and Fite-Faraco staining. Variables were analyzed, as appropriate, with the χ test, the Mann-Whitney U test, or the Spearman correlation coefficient.
Sixty-seven men and 33 women were included. The mean (SD) age was 48.1 (16.4) years. Thirty-four patients had oral lesions. Lesions related to Hansen disease were found in 9 patients. The locations were the hard palate and upper lip. Oral lesions were significantly more frequent in patients with lepromatous leprosy, borderline lepromatous leprosy (P = .029), and erythema nodosum leprosum (P = .031).
The frequency of oral lesions is low in Hansen disease. Such lesions present as lepromas and leprous plaques on the hard palate and upper lip.
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