Leprosy is on the rise in the United States
The animal may be responsible for the increased number of cases.
She says that more and more cases of leprosy are being reported in the United States IFLScience As reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). According to records, 159 people were diagnosed with such an infectious disease in 2020: The hardest hit state was Florida, which had a fifth of the number of reported cases nationally.
Also known as Hansen’s disease, this disease is a long-term infection caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium leprae, or Mycobacterium leprae, which can damage nerves, respiratory tract, skin, and eyes. The most common symptoms are: patches of discolored skin, unusual growths on the skin, sores on the soles of the feet, painless swelling of the face, numbness, and possibly paralysis.
Nerve damage is a particularly unpleasant component of the disease, as it results in the inability to feel pain, so damage and infection in parts of the body can go unnoticed. Sometimes affected limbs must be amputated, although this is relatively rare in modern times thanks to early detection and treatment.
Could the animal be responsible?
The American history of leprosy began with the introduction of the disease from other, more affected parts of the world. However, according to the latest report, a third of cases now appear to be of local origin. According to the researchers, the source of the infection remains a mystery, but they increasingly suspect an animal: armadillos. By the way, it has long been known that armadillos living in South Florida carry these bacteria.
Meanwhile, leprosy is spreading to other parts of the United States. The good news is that about 95 percent of people already have a natural immunity to leprosy, according to the CDC. If caught in time, it is usually treatable. Patients are usually given a course of antibiotics to take regularly for a few years.