International Leprosy Association -
History of Leprosy

  • International Leprosy Association -
    History of Leprosy


    Dr D V A Opromolla

    Status Physician
    Country Brazil


    Dr Opromolla graduated from the Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo (PUC) in 1957. In 1959 he started to work as dermatologist in the Asylum Aymorés for Leprosy, Bauru, SP. Later in his career he was Director of the Medical service and Director of the Research and Teaching Division and he retired in 2004 as a Scientific Researcher. His successful campaigning led to the recognition of the Instituto Lauro de Souza Lima (ILSL) as a Research Centre. The old Asylum became Hospital Lauro de Souza Lima in 1974 in honour of the great leprologist and finally, in 1989, he helped to transform the institution into a Research Institute for Dermatology with an emphasis on leprosy. The Institute Lauro de Souza Lima became a reference centre for leprosy in Brazil and Portuguese speaking countries.

    His main contribution related to therapeutics of leprosy, effective up to the present day, was the pioneering use of rifampin for the treatment of leprosy in the early 1970s. Dr Opromolla worked on the therapeutics of leprosy using rifampin and clofazimine, and studied the development of resistance to sulphone and rifampin.

    Opromolla took a comprehensive approach to the disease and helped to set up the rehabilitation service of the ILSL, which today acts a model for the rest of Brazil. He also co-founded a society for the rehabilitation and reintegration of the patient into society (SORRI) in 1978. He initiated the foundation of the Prevention Centre for Ophthalmology and the Laboratory Animal House at the ILSL. From his personal collection he started the ILSL’s library which has one of the most complete archives on leprosy work and history. He also initiated the Residence program in Dermatology at ILSL and was coordinator there until his death in 2004. He introduced updated courses on leprosy for students, medical doctors and several health professionals. Since 1989, Dr Opromolla has been the editor of the journal Hansenologia Internationalis, the only Brazilian journal specialising in leprosy.

    Throughout his career he held a number of important positions in leprosy programs, including:
    - President of the Commission for Coordination of Leprosy Programs for the State Secretary of São Paulo;
    - Member of the Scientific Committee of the Health Ministry; and
    - Member of the Study Group on Chemotherapy of Leprosy of the World Health Organization.


    Noções de Hansenologia ed. Opromolla DVA. Bauru: Centro de Estudos Dr Reynaldo Quagliato, 2000. 126 p.

    Prevenção e Reabilitação da Hanseníase ed Opromolla, DVA.; Baccarelli, Rosemari Bauru: Centro de Estudos Dr Reynaldo Quagliato, 2003. 132 p.

    Atlas de Hanseníase , ed Opromolla, DVA.; Ura, Somei, Bauru: Centro de Estudos Dr Reynaldo Quagliato, 2002. 80 p.

    'Hanseníase', in Prado, FC, Ramos, JA; Valle, JR. Atualização Terapêutica, Manual Prático de Diagnóstico e Tratamento. São Paulo: Artes Médicas. 18° edição, 1997, pp. 667-79.

    'Aspectos Gerais sobre a Hanseníase', in Duerlsen, F; Virmond, MCL. Cirurgia Reparadora e Reabilitação em Hanseníase. Bauru: Centro de Estudos Dr Reynaldo Quagliato, Baum, 1997, pp. 25-34.

    Limalde, S, Opromolla DV. ‘First Results On The Treatment of Leprosy with Rifamycin SV’, Chemotherapy 10 (1963): 668-78.

    Opromolla DV, Lima Lde S, Caprara G. ‘Rifamycin SV in the treatment of lepromatous leprosy’ Lepr Rev. 36.3 (1965):123-31.

    Opromolla DV, Tonello CJ, McDougall AC, Yawalkar SJ. 'A controlled trial to compare the therapeutic effects of dapsone in combination with daily or once-monthly rifampin in patients with lepromatous leprosy' Int J Lepr Other Mycobact Dis 49.4 (1981): 393-7.

    Opromolla DV. ‘Some considerations on the origin of type 1 reactions in leprosy’ Int J Lepr Other Mycobact Dis 73.1 (2005): 33-4.

    Hatagima A, Opromolla DV, Ura S, Feitosa MF, Beiguelman B, Krieger H. ‘No evidence of linkage between Mitsuda reaction and the NRAMP1 locus’ Int J Lepr Other Mycobact Dis, 69.2 (2001): 99-103.

    Opromolla DV, de Arruda OS, Fleury RN. ‘Maintenance of armadillos in captivity and results of the inoculation of Mycobacterium lepraeHansenol Int, 5.1 (1980): 28-36.

    Opromolla DV; Costa, HC; Virmond, MCL; Beiguelman, B. ‘Influence of the Rapid Acetylador Phenotype on the Emergence of DDS Resistant Mycobacterium lepraeRev Brasil, Genet, 16.4 (1993): 1029-1034.

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