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Armadillos Can Transmit Leprosy to Humans, Federal Researchers Confirm

Armadillos, a common species in and around Joplin, Carthage and Neosho, can cause significant damage to lawns and gardens. This damage often results in the removal or control of the nuisance aramadillo. But, do armadillos pose a more serious risk? The aramadillo has been rumored to carry the ancient skin disease of Leprosy, but now research has confirmed that armadillos do in fact transmit Leprosy to humans. A story published by the "New York Times" reports more:

'Armadillos have never been among the cuddly creatures routinely included in petting zoos, but on Wednesday federal researchers offered a compelling reason to avoid contact with the armored animals altogether: They are a source of leprosy infections in humans.

Using genetic sequencing machines, researchers were able to confirm that about a third of the leprosy cases that arise each year in the United States almost certainly result from contact with infected armadillos. The cases are concentrated in Louisiana and Texas, where some people hunt, skin and eat armadillos.

Leprosy, also known as Hansen’s disease, is an ancient scourge that has largely disappeared, but each year about 150 to 250 people in the United States and 250,000 in the world contract the illness. As long as the disease is identified relatively quickly, treatment with antibiotics — a one- to two-year regimen with three different drugs — offers an effective cure. But every year dozens of people in the United States do not recognize their skin lesions for what they are early enough and suffer lifelong nerve damage as a result."

Read More of this story published by the "New York Times" here

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