To describe the temporal trends of leprosy indicators among the elderly in Brazil in 2001 – 2018.
This was an ecological time‑series study of new leprosy cases in the elderly reported to the Notifi‑ able Diseases Information System. Prais-Winsten generalized linear regression was used to estimate temporal variations.
There were 687 317 new leprosy cases in Brazil from 2001 – 2018, of which 129 214 (18.8%) were among elderly people. Overall detection rates in the elderly and of new cases with grade-2 disability showed a falling trend, with an annual percent change of -4.6% (95%CI = -5.1 to -4.0) and -3.9% (95%CI = -4.6 to -3.2). New case and new multibacillary case proportions showed an increasing trend, with an annual percent change of 2.9% (95%CI = 2.6 to 3.3) and 1.4% (95%CI = 1.0 to 1.7), respectively. Detection rates for new leprosy cases in elderly people in Brazil are decreasing, but the proportion of new cases and multibacillary cases are trending upwards.
New cases are shifting to older age groups, and demographic transition and immunosenes‑ cence are an influence. Inadequate reduction of grade-2 disability indicates a high risk of physical disability persists. Improved contact tracing and more effective action are needed in this age group.