Modelling the Effects of Stigma on Leprosy

  • Stephen G. Mosher
  • Christian Costris-Vas
  • Robert SmithEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Springer Proceedings in Mathematics & Statistics book series (PROMS, volume 302)


The World Health Organization’s leprosy-elimination campaign has significantly reduced global leprosy prevalence, but approximately 214,000 new cases of leprosy are reported each year. An ancient and neglected affliction, leprosy is also one of the most heavily stigmatised diseases of all time. We developed a mathematical model to examine the effects of stigma on sustaining disease transmission, using low and high degrees of stigma, as well as in its absence. Our results show that stigma does indeed play a central role in the long-term sustainability of leprosy. We also examined sensitivity of the outcome to all parameters and showed that the effects of stigma could increase the number of infected individuals by a factor of 80. Therefore both targeted education and shifts in cultural attitudes towards leprosy will be necessary for the eventual eradication of the disease.


Leprosy Stigma Mathematical model Latin Hypercube Sampling Partial rank correlation coefficients 



The authors are grateful to Alison Kealey and Nyuk Sian Chong for invaluable assistance and are also grateful to an anonymous reviewer for insightful comments that greatly improved the manuscript. RS? is supported by an NSERC Discovery Grant. For citation purposes, please note that the question mark in “Smith?” is part of the author’s name.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen G. Mosher
    • 1
  • Christian Costris-Vas
    • 2
  • Robert Smith
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Earth and Environmental SciencesThe University of OttawaOttawaCanada
  2. 2.Department of MathematicsThe University of OttawaOttawaCanada
  3. 3.Department of Mathematics and Faculty of MedicineThe University of OttawaOttawaCanada

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