Tuesday, 28 July 2015

What's Causing Florida's Leprosy Cases?

by Laura Geggel, Staff Writer | July 27, 2015 04:27pm ET

Leprosy is often thought to be an ancient disease, but leprosy-causing bacteria continue to infect people in the southern United States, including in Florida, where nine people have been diagnosed with the disease so far this year.

What's to blame? It could be the nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus) that roams wild across much of the Southeast, experts say.

"Keep your distance from armadillos," said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious-disease specialist at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, who wasn't involved in the Florida cases. "Don't play with them, don't eat them and don't keep them as pets."

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