Background: Leprosy is an ancient infectious disease with a global annual incidence that has plateaued above 200,000 new cases since over a decade. New strategies are required to overcome this stalemate. Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) with a single dose of Rifampicin (SDR) has conditionally been recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), based on a randomized-controlled-Trial in Bangladesh. More evidence is required. The Post ExpOsure Prophylaxis for Leprosy (PEOPLE) trial will assess effectiveness of different modalities of PEP on the Comoros and Madagascar. Methods: PEOPLE is a cluster-randomized trial with villages selected on previous leprosy-incidence and randomly allocated to four arms. Four annual door-To-door surveys will be performed in all arms. All consenting permanent residents will be screened for leprosy. Leprosy patients will be treated according to international guidelines and eligible contacts will be provided with SDR-PEP. Arm-1 is the comparator in which no PEP will be provided. In arms 2, 3 and 4, SDR-PEP will be provided at double the regular dose (20 mg/kg) to eligible contacts aged two years and above. In arm 2 all household-members of incident leprosy patients are eligible. In arm 3 not only household-members but also neighbourhood contacts living within 100-m of an incident case are eligible. In arm 4 such neighbourhood contacts are only eligible if they test positive to anti-PGL-I, a serological marker. Incidence rate ratios calculated between the comparator arm 1 and each of the intervention arms will constitute the primary outcome. Discussion: Different trials on PEP have yielded varying results. The pivotal COLEP trial in Bangladesh showed a 57% reduction in incidence over a two-year period post-intervention without any rebound in the following years. A study in a high-incidence setting in Indonesia showed no effect of PEP provided to close contacts but a major effect of PEP provided as a blanket measure to an entire island population. High background incidence could be the reason of the lack of effect of PEP provided to individual contacts. The PEOPLE trial will assess effectiveness of PEP in a high incidence setting and will compare three different approaches, to identify who benefits most from PEP. Trial registration: Clinicaltrials.Gov. NCT03662022. Initial Protocol Version 1.2, 27-Aug-2018.

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BMC Infectious Diseases
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Ortuno-Gutierrez, N. (Nimer), Younoussa, A. (Assoumani), Randrianantoandro, A. (Andriamira), Braet, S. (Sofie), Cauchoix, B. (Bertrand), Ramboarina, S. (Stéphanie), … Hasker, E. C. (2019). Protocol, rationale and design of PEOPLE (Post ExpOsure Prophylaxis for LEprosy in the Comoros and Madagascar): A cluster randomized trial on effectiveness of different modalities of implementation of post-exposure prophylaxis of leprosy contacts. BMC Infectious Diseases, 19(1). doi:10.1186/s12879-019-4649-0