Three leprosy patients confirmed in Florida

Three leprosy patients confirmed in Florida

Health officials are reporting that there are three leprosy patients confirmed in Florida.

Two of the three cases are believed to be related to contact with nine-banded armadillos.

The nine-bander armadillos is a medium-sized mammal found in North, Central, and South America. It is a mainly nocturnal animal and is an insectivore.

An article published in The New England Journal of Medicine analyzed the genomes of a wild armadillo and three leprosy patients, and found that the animals carry the bacteria.

News media outlet CBS reports that leprosy, more commonly known as Hansen’s disease, is caused by a bacteria called mycobacterium lepra. Though the bacteria do not affect most humans, it can be transmitted through droplets of the nose and mouth or close contact with someone who is infected.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO): “M. leprae [leprosy] multiplies slowly and the incubation period of the disease is about 5 years. Symptoms can take as long as 20 years to appear.”

WHO also states that the disease mainly affects the skin, peripheral nerves, mucosa of the supper respiratory tract, and also the eyes. It disfigures the skin and causes tissue damage over time. The disease is treatable.

WHO reported that in 2012, there were 189,018 known cases and 232,857 new cases diagnosed worldwide.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are about 100 new cases of leprosy in the U.S. every year, the majority being in in the southern states such as Texas, Louisiana, and Florida.

Note: None of the information in our website is intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. The content on our website is for educational purposes only.

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1. “Three Leprosy Cases Confirmed in Florida.” WWLTV. WWLTV, 28 Feb. 2015. Web. 01 Mar. 2015
2. “Probable Zoonotic Leprosy in the Southern United States.” New England Journal of Medicine. New England Journal of Medicine, 28 Apr. 2011. Web. 01 Mar. 2015.
3. “Three Leprosy Cases Confirmed in Florida.” CBSNews. CBS Interactive, 27 Feb. 2015. Web. 01 Mar. 2015.
4. “Leprosy.” WHO. World Health Organization, n.d. Web. 22 Feb. 2015.
5. “Leprosy Still Occurs in U.S., CDC Reports.”, 31 Oct. 2014. Web. 01 Mar. 2015.
6. “Armadillos and Hansen’s Disease (Leprosy).” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 29 Apr. 2013. Web. 01 Mar. 2015.

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