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How Is Leprosy Spreading Domestically in the US? Some Experts Point to Armadillos

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How Is Leprosy Spreading Domestically in the US? Some Experts Point to Armadillos

There’s a medical mystery in Florida, and some experts suggest that nine-banded armadillos may be connected to the rise in domestically transmitted cases of leprosy (also known as Hansen’s disease) in the United States. However, there’s ongoing debate about whether armadillos are the actual cause. 

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Dr. Jessica Farley of Emory University School of Medicine believes that human-armadillo contact may play a role in the uptick of leprosy cases. On the other hand, wildlife biologist Brett DeGregorio argues that armadillos might be getting unfairly blamed for the outbreak.
Leprosy cases in the US are generally linked to international travel, but it’s becoming more endemic in the southeastern parts of the country where armadillos are common. Nine-banded armadillos are the only mammal, aside from humans, known to carry the bacterium that causes leprosy, Mycobacterium leprae.
While there is evidence of armadillos carrying the bacteria, it’s hard to trace infections back to them. Not everyone exposed to infected armadillos or individuals will develop leprosy, as the majority of people are naturally immune to the disease.

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Armadillos have been expanding their territory northward due to climate change, possibly bringing leprosy with them. However, experts are cautious about directly linking armadillos to leprosy cases. The most recent case reported in Florida involved a man with no known exposure to armadillos.
Despite their expanding territory, the mystery of how leprosy is spreading domestically in the US remains unsolved. The article highlights the need for further research into this medical puzzle.

References:

See also  Stubborn Infections: Natural Remedies and Effective Treatments

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1. [AOL Article – “How Is Leprosy Spreading Domestically in the US? Some Experts Point to Armadillos.”](https://www.aol.com/article/news/2023/09/29/how-is-leprosy-spreading-domestically-in-the-us-some-experts-point-to-armadillos/24377410/)
2. [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – Leprosy in America](https://www.cdc.gov/leprosy/about/index.html)
3. [National Hansen’s Disease Program – Armadillos and Leprosy](https://www.hrsa.gov/hansens-disease/armadillos-leprosy)

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