Leprosy in Colombia is in the post-elimination phase; nevertheless, there are regions of this country where the incidence is still around 3-4/100,000. Early detection of leprosy patients is a priority for achieving control and elimination of leprosy; however, the clinical exam is not very sensitive and thus, the majority of patients are diagnosed only when they demonstrate lesions, and damage to the nerves and skin has already occurred. The goal of the present study was to identify Mycobacterium leprae
infection and immune responses in household contacts (HHC) of leprosy patients from three prevalent regions of Colombia. Clinical examination, the Mitsuda test, evaluation of IgM anti-PGL-I in the serum, the bacillar index (BI), and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) from nasal swabs (NS) were performed for 402 HHC of 104 leprosy patients during a cross-sectional survey. Positive titers for IgM anti-PGL1 were found for 54 HHC, and PCR-positive NS for 22. The Mitsuda reaction was negative for 38 HHC, although three were positive for IgM anti-PGL-1 titers. The data document that leprosy transmission among HHC is still occurring in a non-endemic country.